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  2. The Internet is My Religion
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Find out why Add to Clipboard. Add to Collections. Order articles. Fetching bibliography My Bibliography Add to Bibliography. Generate a file for use with external citation management software. Create File. Soc Sci Res. Epub Feb 8. Fenelon A 1 , Danielsen S 2. Electronic address: afenelon cdc.

We contacted organizations, all of them representing different faiths and typologies: Public, private and subsidized private schools and high schools in Catalonia, both secular and affiliated with one of the 13 religions present in the country. Youth centers that work with young people in different fields and with a variety of profiles. We first contacted authorized personnel in charge of the youth groups.

Having obtained the authorization from the organizations, we sent out the surveys. Respondents could choose to fill them out in digital format or on paper.

Case Report

In total, we sent out paper-format surveys and obtained responses. Regarding the digital format, we sent emails, made phone calls and used social network sites to contact the organizations. However, the outreach was broader because those organizations also shared the survey with others, which makes it difficult to provide an exact number for the associations that were contacted in total. The number of responses we received was The questionnaire was designed and prepared previously, with 22 open-ended and multiple-choice questions.

The choice of format is justified by the object of study and the objectives that we hoped to achieve. This structure had three parts: profile, the use of technology and religion: Profile: determining age, gender, origins and whether young interviewees are believers or not see Annex 1. In this area, why also hoped to uncover the levels of access to digital tools.

Technology and religion: the core of the research, which specifies how young people use digital tools in the sphere of religion. In this case, the responses from the young people had to do with the specific activities they engage in, the websites they visit, the apps they use, the networks and online communities they participate in, and even the religious games they play. Likewise, above and beyond instrumental uses, we asked if they share their digital religious activity with the people around them, and how they see their faith represented in the media.

Interviews are used in this research as a complementary technique. The directors we interviewed were chosen according to the variety of ages and religions in each of their organizations, as well as the degree to which digital tools were present in their programs. View all notes Barcelona. Likewise, we wanted opinions from associations linked to specific religions.

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In these two cases, we held the interviews face to face with a questionnaire we had prepared in advance, which included both general and personalized questions. Netnography Kozinets Kozinets, Robert V. Netnography: Ethnographic Research Online.

London : Sage. Using netnography, the responses and opinions expressed by young people and organizations can be compared with the activities carried out by the open online religious communities in which they participate. In our planning stage Kozinets Kozinets, Robert V. These communities are active, with more than a hundred followers, in the Catalan context and they are linked to the two largest religions represented in our study: Islam and Catholicism.

These were the motives, during the planning stage Kozinets Kozinets, Robert V.


As the next step, the methodology we followed proposes that the researchers join the communities under study. Having chosen the section option, we designed the following form intended to help us to study the communities: Name:. The results obtained by this methodology show that almost seven out of 10 young people in Catalonia believe in one of the 13 faiths that the region accommodates. Two out of 10 young people interviewed were from a minor religion. We also obtained data about their digital activities. Finally, five out of 10 youth in Catalonia own a tablet see Annex 2 : Tables 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Twenty percent of them use digital religion to know more about other religions see Annex 2 : Tables 8 and 9. We also wondered in what extent youth make it public that they use digital religion. In this research, we also asked the young people which public figures and institutions associated with religion they follow on social network sites. Confusion and lack of knowledge are how we would summarize the sensations we experienced after processing all the answers obtained. In terms of religious culture, the situation for Catalan youth is complex. We could classify them into three groups: believers, non-believers and passive believers.

As their name suggests, the first ones believe and practice a faith.

The non-believers are completely opposite in that they do not care about religion at all. The third group is in the middle and comprises mostly Catholic youth. In most cases, the activity in digital religious communities is an extension of traditional offline activities Leurs and Ponzanesi Leurs, Koen , and Sandra Ponzanesi. Mediated Crossroads: Youthful Digital Diaspora. Addressing the non-believers, we find several reasons for this based on our research:. Lack of knowledge : The majority of these young people come from entirely secular educational environments.

In many cases, they have only biased knowledge of specific faiths, which leads them to make largely unfounded value judgments. We draw this conclusion from our qualitative research.

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Lack of interest : Whether or not they are familiar with a faith, they do not consider religion to be something necessary in their lives. Some of them have a preconceived idea, criticize believers without arguments or they directly insult some religions, which is an extreme that should be addressed if we do not want a society based on hate and social representations that are not a reality. Believers talk about religion only with other believers see Annex 2 : Table According to the Pew Research Center, as the number of believers decrease, the affiliation of those who believe gets stronger.

In this sense, we have detected that there is a sector of young Catholics who are active, participative and involved in their religious communities — both in person and digitally. The young people who participate in activities organized by Christian groups are the ones who show the greatest interest in their religion.

We see how interest in religion and the feeling of faith is an individual and personal matter that is generally externalized in an environment where the same faith is shared. These are the young people who, of their own accord, participate in religious activities. It is worth stressing that, in this case, they are young people from religious families and schools, so they have received religious values from two of the main agents of socialization Giddens Giddens, Anthony. In contrast, it is worth noting that many of the young people we surveyed who attend religious schools do not have that desire.

Friends appear here as another transmitter — or not — of religious values. The opinions of friends could influence whether or not youth take into account their interests in religion and religious values. Accessed 31 May Madrid : Ediciones de la Torre. In any case, the author states that society understands independent thinkers as those who think for themselves, who do not blindly follow what others say or do. The influence of religious values translates into a particular attitude in certain circumstances that occur during adolescence, where parents hope that their children will take into account both religious values and independent critical thinking.

These situations are sexuality, alcohol and even drugs. In this sense, parents feel that religion can become a protective layer for their children and help them to make the right decisions in crucial moments Benson, Masters, and Larson Benson, Peter L. Masters , and David B. Alessi , — New York : John Wiley and Sons. In looking at active young believers, we could not leave out minor religious groups. For them — most of whom are immigrants — religion is essential in their lives, and digital tools represent a major advance. Tsagarousianou Tsagarousianou, Roza. The digital diaspora refers to the virtual community of immigrants, which has been made possible due to the advent of digital tools.

Reno : University of Nevada Press. It is important to ascertain whether or not digital tools help them by overcoming social, emotional and political barriers.

The Internet is My Religion

The digital sphere is in this sense a double-edge sword, especially in diasporic contexts. Religious digital communities could be welcoming spaces for integration, especially in the situation of immigrants. In these cases, the fact of belonging to a religion that is not widespread in their immediate surroundings makes their beliefs an even stronger part of their identity. For young people who come from other countries, religion is one of the avenues for continued contact with their culture of origin Leurs and Ponzanesi Leurs, Koen , and Sandra Ponzanesi.

Finding a digital window that keeps them connected to that environment can alleviate the feelings of homesickness they may experience. Mass migration and digital mediation have led to a situation where relationships are maintained over large geographical distances, beyond national boundaries.

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Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press. This issue requires further analysis that we are not going to address in this research, but it is important to take into account the representations derived from these social imaging constructions and their influence on how religions are still viewed socially at younger ages. In this sense, Deaux Deaux, Kay. This construction of social identity occurs in the socialization process that people experience from birth to death as they adapt to their environment.

During the process, belonging to a group generates a sense of identity. For young active believers, religion is the element that connects their community and holds it together; it is the group they feel a part of Salem Salem, Zineb. Honors Research Projects. Paper In many cases, religion is present in their family community, but it is not always accepted among their friends.

Some of qualitative answers received show this reality.