Monday, 24 August 2015

A nuanced understanding of Internet use and non-use among the elderly

Alexander JAM van Deursen (University of Twente, The Netherlands) and Ellen J Helsper (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK) published in European Journal of Communication Volume 30 Number 2 (April 2015)


This article examines explanations for both Internet use and non-use by older individuals.

Older adults are often considered a homogeneous group with uniform reasons for Internet non-use, or when they are online, practicing a uniform range of activities.

The study gathered data concerning senior non-users through a national telephone survey. Data concerning senior Internet users were obtained through a nationally representative online survey.

The findings suggest that although a substantial part of the senior Internet non-users live in surroundings that enable Internet uptake, they seem to be less eager or unable to do so.

Important differences among senior non-users are based on gender, age, education, household composition and attitude towards the Internet. Differences among users were based on life stage, social environment and psychological characteristics.

This article thus reveals that older citizens are a very diverse group in which some are more likely to be digitally excluded than others.

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