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The Use of Mobile Phones by Refugees to Create Social Connectedness: A Literature Review

Authors: Sarah Vuningoma, Maria Rosa Lorini, Wallace Chigona


Mobile phones are one of the main tools for promoting the wellbeing of people and supporting the integration of communities on the margins such as refugees. Information and Communication Technology has the potential to contribute towards reducing isolation, loneliness, and to assist in improving interpersonal relations and fostering acculturation processes. Therefore, the use of mobile phones by refugees might contribute to their social connectedness. This paper aims to demonstrate how existing literature has shown how the use of mobile phones by refugees should engender social connectedness amongst the refugees. Data for the study are drawn from existing literature; we searched a number of electronic databases for papers published between 2010 and 2019. The main findings of the study relate to the use of mobile phones by refugees to (i) create a sense of belonging, (ii) maintain relationships, and (iii) advance the acculturation process. The analysis highlighted a gap in the research over refugees and social connectedness. In particular, further studies should consider evaluating the differences between those who have a refugee permit, those who are waiting for the refugee permit, and those whose request was denied.

Keywords: Belonging, mobile phones, refugees, social connectedness.

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