ERIC Number: ED425009
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Dec
Buying into the Computer Age: A Look at Hispanic Families.
Ownership rates of advanced communication technologies among Hispanic families are lower than the national average. Going beyond socioeconomic (i.e., family income, educational attainment, and occupation) indicators as key predictors of the so-called technology gap, this paper relies on qualitative analysis of Hispanic families' attitudes and opinions about computers to provide a richer context for understanding the gap. Six focus groups were conducted in the summer of 1997 (n=72). Interviewees were recruited from Santa Ana and Riverside, California, and were eligible to participate if: (1) they were heads of household of Hispanic origin; (2) their yearly family income was between $25,000 and $65,000; and (3) they did not already own a home computer. Focus groups were balanced in terms of gender, and participant ages ranged from 21 to 64. Santa Ana focus groups tended to include mostly college-educated, professional, English-speaking, and native-born respondents, while Riverside focus groups included predominantly non-college-educated, working-class, Spanish-speaking, and foreign-born participants. The results of the focus group dialogues provided support for the following key findings. First, most respondents (over 90%) believed strongly that Hispanics need computers to keep up with progress. Not only were computers considered to be important, they were ranked behind "taking a vacation" as a priority in their household. Second, notwithstanding common wisdom, which suggests that Hispanic parents want a home computer principally for their children, focus groups revealed that heads of household most likely to purchase a PC in the next year would buy it for their own personal use as well as for their children. Third, while respondents found many advantages to owning a computer, the drawbacks were formidable, including anxiety over pornography on the Internet (a concern for two-thirds of participants, mainly female interviewees) as well as the antisocial nature of using computers in a family setting. (LPP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Proceedings of the Families, Technology, and Education Conference (Chicago, IL, October 30-November 1, 1997); see PS 027 175.