Manuscript Title: Digital Colonialism on Digital Natives in Nigeria: A WhatsApp Usage Perspective

OJI, Karachi Benson, Ruth, NZEAKA, Emmanuel Ezimako


In the new media debate, digital colonialism has become a topic of serious contention. This work looks into the allegation that the internet is exploitative of digital natives’ daily routine and regulates their lives by exploring this argument about the degree of consciousness of digital natives to seek out their perception of politics of Western domination in the WhatsApp usage. Therefore, the primary motivation of this paper is to find out whether digital slavery is real. Media Dependency Theory and Uses and Gratification theory form the theoretical background of the study, which utilised questionnaires to determine areas of controversy.  Using a survey, we found that digital natives do not count the use of the WhatsApp as an element of colonialism. Consequently, 53.26% of the natives do not consider themselves enslaved to WhatsApp usage and thus its colonial powers; however, 28.26% view themselves as willing slaves consequent on the benefits from using the App, while an 18.48% are unsure of their position. Based on the results, the argument is that the concept of digital slavery in terms of absolute dependence on WhatsApp is not quite appealing to digital natives, except that the amount of time they spend on it could make them enslaved, whether or not they agree. Further studies could determine the influence of internet-based apps on digital natives and the amount of time they spend, using a more extensive sample population.

Keywords: Digital colonialism, Digital natives, WhatsApp usage, Western domination, Media dependency

DOI: 10.7176/NMMC/86-04

Publication date: December 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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