Socially Networked or Isolated? Differentiating Older Adults and the Role of Tablets and Television

  • José Coelho
  • Carlos Duarte
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9296)


Population is aging. With it comes social isolation which leads to drastic health degrading situations. Facebook has the potential to assist older adults in maintaining relationships. Still problems like unclear purposes, design complexity and privacy issues have contributed to a lower uptake. We conducted a study to understand how to draw Facebook closer to older adults, investigate the main difficulties and motivations towards its use and adoption, and inquire about the possibilities of using Tablet and Television as alternatives to the traditional PC for accessing this kind of services. Findings show correlations between self-belief in technical skills, motor limitations, and tablet use and the use of Facebook. It also shows that the complexity of Facebook’s user interface limits its use by the older adults that use it and works as a barrier for its adoption by the seniors who still don’t. We also identified distinct groups and distinct feelings about the use of Television as a vehicle for social interaction. We derived a set of recommendations to consider when designing solutions for tackling social isolation.


Facebook Older adults Social isolation Tablet Television Questionnaire 



We thank all participants who voluntarily participated in our study. This work was partially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) through Multiannual Funding to the LaSIGE research unit and the Individual Doctoral Grant SFRH/BD/81115/2011.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LaSIGEUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal

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