Academic Use of Internet

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University of Wollongong

Research Online
University of Wollongong in Dubai - Papers University of Wollongong in Dubai

2009

Internet usage among young Arab students: preliminary findings Kathy Ning Shen
University of Wollongong in Dubai, KathyShen@uowdubai.ac.ae

Maha Shakir
Zayed University

Publication Details
Shen, K. & Shakir, M. 2009, 'Internet usage among young Arab students: preliminary findings', European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems, pp. 1-10.

Research Online is the open access institutional repository for the University of Wollongong. For further information contact the UOW Library: research-pubs@uow.edu.au

European and Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems 2009 (EMCIS2009) July 13-14 2009, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Izmir

INTERNET USAGE AMONG ARAB ADOLESCENTS: PRELIMINARY FINDINGS
Kathy Ning Shen, Department of Management Information Systems, Abu Dhabi University, UAE kathy.shen@adu.ac.ae Maha Shakir, Information Systems, College of Information Technology, Zayed University, UAE maha.shakir@zu.ac.ae Abstract Internet has profoundly transformed almost all aspects of our society. As a global phenomenon, Internet also bears distinct regional and cultural profiles. Much research has documented the Internet usage in Western world and its impacts on individuals. However evidence in this regards is dearth in Arab world, which represents an important but unique cultural region. In this study, we take an exploratory approach to examine the Internet usage patterns among young Arabic people, and the impact of Internet usage on their identity development. With surveys and structured interviews with 74 students from two universities in the UAE, one public and the other private, our results provide some preliminary results of the first generation of Arab youth exposed to the Internet. We found that Internet usage patterns were diverse however five main activities, searching, emailing, chatting, entertainment, and online discussions, form 75% of Internet usage time. Furthermore, a signification positive impact on self-perception of young Arabic students in the Middle East was observed. Keywords: Internet usage, Self-perception, Adolescent, Middle East

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INTRODUCTION

The majority of the students in the Gulf region of the Middle East are the first generation in their family to get higher education, particularly Gulf region nationals. Furthermore, they are often the first generation to have access to the Internet. With the rising price of oil, many governments in the region are directing financial surplus gains toward education. IT and electronic resources are considered one of the cornerstones that support the education process and improves prospective job opportunities for graduates. Many studies emphasize the role of culture in the adoption and use of technology. Culture “reflects the values and believes of individuals formed during childhood and reinforced throughout life” (Shore & Venkatachalam, 1996). With the increasing importance of IT use in business, it would be interesting to explore the limitations if any those young university students perceive in utilizing online resources. Almost all Gulf region countries rely heavily on a large expatriate community for development. To create self-reliance, the young generation of nationals are being prepared to be the future leaders of their own countries. Developing critical thinking and leadership skills are considered essential to achieve the self-reliance objective. It would therefore be interesting to explore if access to Internet resources affects how these students perceive themselves.

Kathy Ning Shen and Maha Shakir Internet Usage among Arab Adolescents: Preliminary Findings

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European and Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems 2009 (EMCIS2009) July 13-14 2009, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Izmir

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INTERNET USAGE AMONG ADOLESCENTS

Internet access and use among adolescents have...
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