‘Our old pastor thinks the mobile phone is a source of evil.’ Capturing contested and conflicting insights on digital wellbeing and digital detoxing in an age of rapid mobile connectivity

Bruce Mutsvairo*, Massimo Ragnedda, Kames Mabvundwi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While Africa has largely been considered a digitally-disconnected country, recent studies have shown that connectivity figures are on a rise. In this paper, we theorize digital wellbeing in a context characterized by a fast-growing number of mobile data users despite a historically low Internet penetration. It is focused on an ongoing ethnographic research on mobile users and digital inequalities in Africa, zooming in on results from an explorative study featuring 10 in-depth interviews with young adult heavy users (more than 4–5 hours a day) and seeking to understand strategies they use in attaining digital wellbeing. The findings show how the sampled young adults (18–30 years old) struggle with the daily realities of digital participation including addiction and generational conflict in technology use. Results also reveal ways through which electronic connectivity is perceived both be a tool of freedom as well as a subtle form of potential digital enslavering.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1329878X2210909
Number of pages15
JournalMedia International Australia
Early online date11 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Apr 2022

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