The reality in Halifax, Nova Scotia is that one-third of the homeless population is under the age of 24. Recent investigations into street life found that youth people describes themselves as not having a choice to stay at home because of turbulent family backgrounds or environments with severe abuse. Most of the youth want and crave a conventional lifestyle. Now the conventional lifestyle revolves around having regular access to the interact.
Dr. Jeff Karabanow, a professor at Dalhousie University, has written several books and articles on street youth within the Halifax Metro area. In his article “Being Hooked Up”, Karabanow describes how street interact with Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), which is how people network through the internet. Through this typing of networking, people are able to gain skills required for “being online”. Lacking these skills and faced with other inequalities, marginalized groups may have deeper feelings of isolation and social exclusion.
In his study, Karabanow found that young people living on the street and/or in emergency shelters and supportive housing structures are not only familiar and comfortable with ICTs but interact with the technology on a regular basis. Karabanow later goes on to explain that this familiarity may be linked to the fact that street young come from homes with internet access and have grown up with this technology at their disposal.
Although in a different region, the frequency of internet use can be seen in a recent survey. Professors at the University of Alabama conduct a survey which found that 75% of homeless youth use at least one social media site and internet use is similar to regular college students: Homeless Youth and Social Media Survey