Communication Technology and Social Integration: Access and Use of Communication Technologies Among Floridian Resettled Refugees
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Access to and use of communication technology are essential to U.S. refugee social integration. These technologies allow individuals to stay connected with their home country, decrease social isolation, and lower negative mental health consequences. Therefore, refugee familiarity with communication technology is essential in order to participate in today’s global digital information age. This research study sought to quantitatively and qualitatively determine the influence of communication technologies on social well-being and connectedness of refugees resettled in the U.S. State of Florida (n = 95). This study used a transformative, mix-methods approach with a convergent design, conducted in a series of workshops at three highly resettled metropolitan cities. Results concluded that participants perceived to use technology slightly well (M = 2.85), where their perceived ability to use technologies, such as the phone, Internet, and computer (M = 2.60), were slightly better than their ability to search for jobs and navigate online banking (M = 3.00). Despite both advantages and disadvantages of communication technology voiced by participants, refugees acknowledged the ongoing importance of the Internet as a key communication tool. Although several participants acknowledged that many refugees have limited access to communication technology at large, an ongoing theme of self-confidence and independence emerged for those that did have access to its benefits. The results of the study’s social network analysis proved inconclusive with regard to participant’s perceived communication technology ability and his or her degree centrality. Results present recommendations to resettlement practitioners and policymakers in order to address refugee access to and use of communication technology in the current U.S. integration process.
KeywordsCommunication technology Social well-being Connectedness Mixed methodology
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