A Tale of Two Divides: Technology Experiences Among Racially and Socioeconomically Diverse Older Adults

  • Shelia R. CottenEmail author
  • Jessica Francis
  • Travis Kadylak
  • R. V. Rikard
  • Tim Huang
  • Christopher Ball
  • Julia DeCook
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9754)


Using information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve older adults’ overall well-being and can be a catalyst for social integration and inclusion into society. While older adults are often compared to other age cohorts, based on previous digital divide research, there may be a significant amount of variation within older adult populations with regards to their ICT experiences, attitudes, and uses. Our study seeks to explore the potential gap by examining and comparing ICT uses, views, and experiences among older adults from diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Four semi-structured focus groups (n = 40) were conducted with older adults from two separate cities in Mid-Michigan in the United States: Greater Lansing area and Detroit. Our findings reveal that older adults’ experiences, uses, and perceptions about ICTs differ down racial and socio-economic lines. Our study demonstrates that there are potential sub-divides within traditionally digitally divided populations.


Older adults Digital divide ICTs Race Socioeconomic status 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelia R. Cotten
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessica Francis
    • 1
  • Travis Kadylak
    • 1
  • R. V. Rikard
    • 1
  • Tim Huang
    • 1
  • Christopher Ball
    • 1
  • Julia DeCook
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Media and InformationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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