New institutions and transformations: Computers and youth in Guatemala and Brazil

New institutions and transformations: Computers and youth in low-income urban Guatemala and Brazil

Abstract

Exposure to crime and violence, discrimination, and a structural lack of institutional support for education and human development continue to plague at-risk youth in urban poor neighborhoods of Latin America. With the increase in share of private investment in human development projects, subsidized technology centers have grown significantly throughout the region, offering a means of vocational training for youth in urban low-income areas. Literature on the problems of youth in Latin America, especially relating to violence, teaches us much about the functional use of technology in these contexts. Using in-depth qualitative research with youth participating in programs at such technology centers in three neighborhoods of São Paulo and Guatemala City, we explore the range of issues impacting the use of technology by disadvantaged youth. We find that computer centers are not only seen as a “safe public space” for youth to occupy their time, but are also filling a void made by the lack of institutional higher education options.

Recommended Citation

Frix, M., Freistadt, J., Neff, P., & Pal, J. (2009). New institutions and transformations: Computers and youth in low-income urban Guatemala and Brazil. Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children. Como, Italy, June 2009.