Information seeking and communication during forced migration
ISSN der Zeitschrift
The recent refugee movements to Europe occur in the digital age. While there is a common perception that 'every refugee carries a smartphone', research on this new phenomenon is limited. To fill this academic gap, we have conducted a representative survey of more than 400 refugees living in Berlin which provides insight into the use of digital media in preparation for and during forced migration. We also asked whether digital media shaped images of and expectations about the refugees' target country Germany. The data confirm that digital media are important tools for refugees but also show that refugees are not a homogenous group and that usage patterns depend on regional origins. Moreover, we found that refugees who frequently accessed the Internet before they fled were better informed than others. Whereas Internet use also contributed to a positively-biased perception of Germany, the respective effect of traditional media use was stronger.