The roll-out of more reliable and higher speed Internet in regional and remote communities may force a fundamental rethink of Indigenous urban migration, a Darwin-based academic claims.
A Darwin based Senior Research Fellow with Charles Darwin University, Andrew Taylor, said remote social networking sites such as Facebook were entry points into the wider Internet-based world with its unlimited information, networks and attractions.
“Many (Indigenous people) may struggle with literacy and numeracy, but social benefits are motivating young Indigenous people to learn and engage with others on line,” he said.
“The skills and concepts they master then equip them to explore the Internet, and develop aspirations and a world view far beyond their immediate community.”
The exposure of young people to the global community through their mobile phones and computers may entice them to travel and migrate to larger urban centres.
“Within one or two generations we may see technology contributing to improved educational outcomes, almost without realising it,” Mr Taylor said.
“Young Aboriginal people are enthusiastically embracing these technologies and learning about far away opportunities, cultures and places and it’s naïve to suggest they won’t want to experience some of these.”
He said early research suggested that the roll-out of the Internet has added a new layer to the complex, multifaceted and intercultural jigsaw of Indigenous migration.
“And rather than traditional passive media such as television and radio, the ability for Aboriginal youth to connect virtually with others will expand their personal networks and enable them to maintain family bonds even if they move elsewhere to pursue jobs, partners or further their education,” he said.