Publication Details

Shen, K. & Shakir, M. 2009, 'Internet usage among young Arab students: preliminary findings', European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems, pp. 1-10.


Internet has profoundly transformed almost all aspects of our society. As a global phenomenon, Internet also bears distinct regional and cultural profiles. Much research has documented the Internet usage in Western world and its impacts on individuals. However evidence in this regards is dearth in Arab world, which represents an important but unique cultural region. In this study, we take an exploratory approach to examine the Internet usage patterns among young Arabic people, and the impact of Internet usage on their identity development. With surveys and structured interviews with 74 students from two universities in the UAE, one public and the other private, our results provide some preliminary results of the first generation of Arab youth exposed to the Internet. We found that Internet usage patterns were diverse however five main activities, searching, emailing, chatting, entertainment, and online discussions, form 75% of Internet usage time. Furthermore, a signification positive impact on self-perception of young Arabic students in the Middle East was observed.