Mauritius is advancing, with a strong determination, towards a technology-based society. Consequently, young people are very much attracted by the new technologies, such as mobile phone, computer, and computer-based technologies. Recent data, for example the IT Household Survey - carried out by NCB (2000) - clearly show that adolescents are the age group that uses Internet the most, at home ; and e-mail/chat is the top of the list of purposes for using the Internet. It is also a well-known fact, that sexuality is a dominant theme over the Internet, and especially on the Chat Rooms . Personal observation, of the Mauritian Chat Rooms, has also revealed that sexuality is commonly expressed over the Internet. In this context, this research aims to explore how sexuality is being framed, communicated, deconstructed, and understood by the Mauritian chat users. The specific set research questions, for the qualitative study, are: (a) what types of sexuality related information are shared (b) how sexuality related information are framed, expressed, deconstructed and understood over the chat rooms, and (c) what are the implications of ‘sexuality on the Internet’ for the Mauritian policy-makers?
This paper also presents an innovative approach to qualitative social research using modern technological tools. Particularly, Hewson et al. (2003) point out that IMR offers researchers the potential to reach a vast number of participants from unlimited distance cheaply and time-efficiently. Moreover, the data, collected from the chat rooms, are directly being plugged into Atlas-ti for the content / discourse analysis purpose, thereby saving time and money incurred in transcribing. It is also worth noting that ethical issues such as informed consent of all stakeholders, no access and sharing of pornography related materials, and several other principles of social research, for example, autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficience and veracity, are being seriously considered, in this particular study.
IRFD , 2004.