costa roca

Mobile Warriors: Costa Rican Youth, Mobile Phones and Social Change

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Oct 04, 2008

This article was written by Lisa Campbell of the Youth Action Network and is reprinted here with permission.  Lisa's research and articles are on her blog Mobile Revolutions.

Globally 1.5 billion people have access to televisions, and 1 billion to the Internet; yet overall the most actively used electronic gadget is the mobile phone, with over 3 billion users worldwide. Reaching the 4 billion mark before the end of 2008, that equals to approximately one cell phone for every two human beings. Under 30-years in existence, cell phones are one of the most rapid developing technology the world has ever known. According to Touré, Secretary General of the ITU, “The fact that 4 billion subscribers have been registered worldwide indicates that it is technically feasible to connect the world to the benefits of ICT and that it is a viable business opportunity.”  According to Touré, “Clearly, ICTs have the potential to act as catalysts to achieve the 2015 targets of the MDGs.”

Mobile phones are the first telecommunications technology to be more popular in developing nations, than their developed counterparts, far outnumbering internet coverage (Zuckerman 2007). More and more people are using their phones to access the internet instead of computers.  Soon there will be more cell phone users than literate people on the planet. This signifies a shift into a new age of digital literacy, where avatars, emoticons, pictures, sounds and videos often hold more power than names and numbers.

Economists around the world are hailing cell phones as the solution for ICT development and a ray of hope in bridging the digital divide.