Hearing their Cyberworld-ic Journey: Exploring the Internet Usage of Deaf Teenagers

Hearing their Cyberworld-ic Journey: Exploring the Internet Usage of Deaf Teenagers

This study is about the internet use of deaf teenagers. It explores the motivations and gratifications of their internet use as well as its effect on their well-being and their level of dependency to the medium. The question that this study addresses is: How do deaf teenagers experience the internet as a medium? Consequently, how does it affect their dependency on it?

A purposive, snowball sampling was conducted to determine the participants of the study. Focus interviews were conducted and diaries were accomplished by the participants to discover their internet usage. The integration of Uses and Gratifications Theory and Media Dependency Theory served as the theoretical framework for this study.

Results have shown that the introduction of the deaf participants to the medium brought them positive emotions and experiences. They experience internet as a medium mainly for: (a) Connection, (b) Identity, (c) Convenience, (d) (to be) Updated, and (e) Equality. The findings reveal that they use the medium mainly for communication purposes as they prioritize to address their need for social integration above all else. Similarly, even if the internet satisfies most of their needs, they are still the ones in control over the medium as they are ‘active’ users of it.

This study is about the internet use of deaf teenagers. It explores the motivations and gratifications of their internet use as well as its effect on their well-being and their level of dependency to the medium. The question that this study addresses is: How do deaf teenagers experience the internet as a medium? Consequently, how does it affect their dependency on it?

A purposive, snowball sampling was conducted to determine the participants of the study. Focus interviews were conducted and diaries were accomplished by the participants to discover their internet usage. The integration of Uses and Gratifications Theory and Media Dependency Theory served as the theoretical framework for this study.

Results have shown that the introduction of the deaf participants to the medium brought them positive emotions and experiences. They experience internet as a medium mainly for: (a) Connection, (b) Identity, (c) Convenience, (d) (to be) Updated, and (e) Equality. The findings reveal that they use the medium mainly for communication purposes as they prioritize to address their need for social integration above all else. Similarly, even if the internet satisfies most of their needs, they are still the ones in control over the medium as they are ‘active’ users of it.

Keywords: deaf, internet usage, uses and gratifications, dependency

Javier, B. (2013). Hearing their Cyberworld-ic Journey: Exploring the Internet Usage of Deaf Teenagers, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

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