Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30077
Females’ Usage Patterns of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the Vhembe District, South Africa

Authors: F. O. Maphiri-Makananise

Abstract:

This paper explores and provides substantiated evidence on the usage patterns of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by female users at Vhembe District in Limpopo- Province, South Africa. The study presents a comprehensive picture on the usage of ICTs from female users’ perspective. The significance of this study stems from the need to assess the role, relevance and usage patterns of ICTs such as smartphones, computers, laptops, and iPods, the internet and social networking sites among females following the developments of new media technologies in society. The objective of the study is to investigate the usability and accessibility of ICTs to empower female users in South Africa. The study used quantitative and qualitative research methods to determine the major ideas, perceptions and usage patterns of ICTs by users. Data collection involved the use of structured selfadministered questionnaire from two groups of respondents who participated in this study. Thus, (n=50) female students at the University of Venda provided their ideas and perceptions about the usefulness and usage patterns of ICTs such as smartphones, the Internet and computers at the university level, whereas, the second group were (n=50) learners from Makhado Comprehensive School who provided their perceptions and ideas about the use of ICTs at the high school level. The researcher also noted that the findings of the study were useful as a guideline and model for ICT intervention that could work as an empowerment to women in South Africa. It was observed that the central purpose of ICTs among female users was to search for information regarding assignment writing, conducting research, dating, exchanging ideas and networking with friends and relatives. This was demonstrated by a high number of females who used ICTs for e-learning (62%) and social purposes (85%). Therefore, the study revealed that most females used ICTs for social purposes and accessing the internet rather than for entertainment, a gesture that provides an opportune space to empower rural women in South Africa.

Keywords: Female users, Information and Communication Technologies, Internet, Usage patterns.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1109037

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