Women's Net - Mobile social networks in South Africa


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Women's Net - Mobile social networks in South Africa

  1. 1. Is a feminist organisation and works to advance gender equality and justice in South Africa through the use of Information &Communication Technologies (ICTs) by: - Providing content and training that supports individual women, girls, women’s organizations and networks to take control of their own content and use of technology - Intervening in ICT policy processes to ensure access, and meaningful use
  2. 3. <ul><li>Cellphones are primary mode of socialisation for teens </li></ul><ul><li>Cellphones = young people’s best friend </li></ul><ul><li>Because: </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy when communicating </li></ul><ul><li>Fit in with peers </li></ul><ul><li>The convergence of technologies </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet on cellphones </li></ul><ul><li>- social networks/mobile social networks/mobile instant communication </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Mobile instant applications have been adopted by young people </li></ul><ul><li>Inexpensive, privacy and can help increase the number of friends </li></ul><ul><li>Research – girls are frequent users of social networks </li></ul><ul><li>however, these spaces pose a danger to girls </li></ul><ul><li>Mirror inequalities outside these spaces </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>Mobile Social Networks in South Africa: A </li></ul><ul><li>Preliminary Investigation into Young People's Use </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>11 girls from Orange Farm aged between 15-16 </li></ul><ul><li>They all knew Mxit </li></ul><ul><li>One did not have a cell phone </li></ul><ul><li>Other group: 16 – 31, Grow Bacha in Orange Farm, equal number of male and female </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Air time for the cellphones??? </li></ul><ul><li>I get it from one of my parent, I save or from the chicken </li></ul><ul><li>(quote from one of the girls) </li></ul><ul><li>Girls jokingly referred to “minister of Airtime’’ – a reference to transactional sex for airtime </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>Using Mxit </li></ul><ul><li>Girls denied using Mxit </li></ul><ul><li>But eventually admitted to using it </li></ul><ul><li>Did not open up because: </li></ul><ul><li>They know many adults/parents are pessimistic about mobile texting applications </li></ul><ul><li>Some of the ‘sexting’ they had encountered made them embarrassed </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Girls said they felt uncomfortable and unsafe when using Mxit </li></ul><ul><li>Continual encounters to textual harassment or exposure to pornography </li></ul><ul><li>Girls are shy to talk about their experiences because of fear of being judged and simply because they do not know these are criminal offenses </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>Boys felt comfortable to use the application </li></ul><ul><li>They expressed that is an easy way to get ‘chics’ </li></ul><ul><li>Sicelo: while you are chatting, you will show an interest in her life and you will arrange a date: if she agrees, then where does she live? Can we met? The nearest place where she lives, you will arrange. Maybe in town. Or a mall, where ever. But ill have to check you first, ill stand far away, if you are what I am expecting, then there I will come, If you are not then I'm gone </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>Cell phones and identity </li></ul><ul><li>Part of the three Cs (Clothes, cosmetics and cellphones) </li></ul><ul><li>Cell phones give status </li></ul><ul><li>Cellpnone brand important </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>It stands to reason that 'virtual' spaces reflect the realities of day to day life for South African girls – sexual harassment, sexual violence and domestic and dating violence is common </li></ul><ul><li>This limits the girls’ participation in these technologies </li></ul>
  12. 13. If we don' t intervene, the mobile and online social spaces young people occupy will become like our streets (and homes) where violence is rife and sexism predominates .. transformation is key :-)
  13. 15. <ul><li>Keep-Your-Chats-Exactly-That is a campaign that will educate and raise awareness on the pitfalls of using social networks </li></ul><ul><li>To empower South African girls and boys with information and tactics to keep themselves safe when using social networking tools with a computer or mobile phone. </li></ul>
  14. 16. <ul><li>Like the streets, and at home, social networks reflect power and gender imbalances </li></ul><ul><li>Like in other spaces, girls need support and empowerment </li></ul><ul><li>These spaces must be transformed </li></ul>
  15. 17. Picture taken from “The Reality of the MXit Mania”, Ramon Thomas
  16. 18. How we do it? <ul><li>Through public education aimed at: </li></ul><ul><li>Girls and boys </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Parents </li></ul><ul><li>Policy makers </li></ul><ul><li>Service providers </li></ul>
  17. 19. Contact us…. <ul><li>Lebo Marishane </li></ul><ul><li>+27 11 429-0000 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http:// www.womensnet.org.za </li></ul>