An examination of Latino immigrant youths’ out- of-school technology practices: Latino youth and technology

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Yvonne De La Peña and Orellana’s article, “An examination of Latino immigrant youths’ out- of-school technology practices: Latino youth and technology” (2007) provides another look at Latino young people and their relationships with digital media. The study offers case studies of eighteen students at an elementary school, selected from a larger survey of 280 students (De La Peña and Orellana 2007), and using a combination of survey data, interviews, and home visits. Both authors observe that, “[d]espite the rapid growth of the Latino population in the United States, there is very limited empirical research on how this group interacts with technology in everyday life. This is especially true for Latino youth” (ibid, p. 72). Further, the study answers some questions about how Latino youth enjoy/engage with media, reporting that, “a substantial number of the youth used a computer frequently and for a great variety of activities. Playing computer games was by far the most popular activity, with Internet surfing, e- mailing, and chatting following behind” (ibid, p. 75). Importantly, Peña and Orellana uncover two important findings: 1) Latino youth are often teaching technological knowledge (including decision- making) to their parents and 2) Latino youths’ interactions with technology are often regarded as social, rather than individual, activities. In observing these youths’ digital/technological social networks (family and friends), the authors argue that, “it is within social practices that such technological knowledge and skills were transformed into meaningful activity” (ibid, p 80).