Immigrant Children and the Internet in Spain: Uses, Opportunities, and Risks

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Immigrant Children and the Internet in Spain: Uses, Opportunities, and Risks


  • Miguel Angel Casado Department of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising, University of the Basque Country, Spain
  • Carmelo Garitaonandia Department of Journalism, University of the Basque Country, Spain
  • Gorka Moreno Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of the Basque Country, Spain
  • Estefania Jimenez Department of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising, University of the Basque Country, Spain


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Abstract:  This article describes the use made of the Internet by immigrant children living in Spain and the opportunities and risks it involves. Specifically, it deals with children from the Maghreb, Ecuador, and Sub-Saharan Africa, three regions which account for a quarter of Spain’s foreign-born population. A qualitative methodology was used, based on in-depth interviews with 52 children from these countries and educators from their support centres. Immigrant minors usually access the Internet via their smartphones rather than via computers. They have a very high rate of smartphone use and access the Internet over public Wi-Fi networks. However, they make little use of computers and tablets, the devices most closely associated with education and accessing information. Internet usage is fairly similar among immigrant and Spanish teens, although the former receive more support and mediation from their schools and institutions than from their parents. The Internet helps them to communicate with their families in their countries of origin. As one educator puts it, “they have gone from sending photos in letters to speaking to their families every day on Skype”. Some teens, particularly Maghrebis, sometimes suffer from hate messages on social networks.

Keywords:  children; cyber-bullying; immigrant; Internet; media risks; Spain; youth

Published:   5 February 2019


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v7i1.1478


© Miguel Ángel Casado, Carmelo Garitaonandia, Gorka Moreno, Estefanía Jiménez. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.