Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging

Living Edition
| Editors: Danan Gu, Matthew E. Dupre

Older Adults and Information and Communication Technologies in the Global North

  • Molly-Gloria Harper
  • Barry WellmanEmail author
  • Anabel Quan-Haase
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_902-1
  • 4 Downloads

Definitions

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): devices (i.e., personal computers, mobile phones, and tablets) and applications (i.e., email, texting, video chat, and social media) used to communicate in a range of formats (e.g., text, image, emoji, and video) as well as access, produce, consume, and exchange digital information.

Overview

At all ages, people are incorporating information and communication technologies (ICTs) into their lives. It is not that they have stopped talking with each other in-person, it is that ICTs complement their interactions when they cannot be together face-to-face. Since the 1990s, email has provided a routine way to stay in touch and sustain meaningful contact over distance. But not all age groups have adopted ICTs with the same enthusiasm. Research in the Global North has consistently reported that age plays an important role in ICT adoption and use (Anderson and Perrin 2017). For example, older adults have been the least likely to use...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

Acknowledgement

We are grateful for the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). We are grateful to those who have advised and abetted us, especially Christian Beermann, Brent Berry, Isioma Elueze, Maria Kicevski, Christine Armstrong Mair, Helen Hua Wang, and Renwen Alice Zhang as well as those who transcribed the interviews. Most of all, we owe immense gratitude to the participants we studied who welcomed us into their homes.

References

  1. Anderson M, Perrin A (2017) Tech adoption climbs among older adults. Pew Internet and American Life Project, Washington, DC. http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/17/tech-adoption-climbs-among-older-adults/. Accessed 19 Aug 2018Google Scholar
  2. Bahramnezhad F, Chalik R, Bastani F, Taherpour M, Navab E (2017) The social network among the elderly and its relationship with quality of life. Electron Physician 9(11):4306–4311.  https://doi.org/10.19082/4306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blank G (2017) The digital divide among twitter users and its implications for social research. Soc Sci Comput Rev 35(6):679–697.  https://doi.org/10.1177/8094439316671698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blank G, Groselji D (2014) Dimensions of internet use. Inf Commun Soc 17(4):417–435.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2014.889189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brokaw T (1998) The greatest generation. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Bromell L, Cagney KA (2014) Companionship in the neighborhood context. Res Aging 36(2):228–243.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027512475096CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen M (2016) How to make money in telehealth. Telehealth Med Today 1(3).  https://doi.org/10.30953/tmt.v1.83
  8. Cornwell EY, Waite LJ (2009) Social disconnectedness, perceived isolation, and health among older adults. J Health Soc Behav 50(1):31–48.  https://doi.org/10.1177/002214650905000103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cotten SR, Anderson WA, McCullough BM (2013) Impact of internet use on loneliness and contact with others among older adults. J Med Internet Res 15(2):e39.  https://doi.org/10.2196/jmir.2306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dickens A, Richards S, Greaves C, Campbell J (2011) Interventions targeting social isolation in older people. BMC Public Health 11(1):647.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-11-647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Elueze I, Quan-Haase A (2018) Privacy attitudes and concerns in the digital lives of older adults. Am Behav Sci 62(10):1372–1391.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764218787026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Francis J, Rikard RV, Cotten SR, Kadylak T (2017) Does ICT use matter? Inf Commun Soc 21:1281.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1417459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Friemel T (2016) The digital divide has grown old. New Media Soc 18(2):313–331.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814538648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hagestad GO, Neugarten BL (1985) Aging and the life course. In: Shanas E, Binstock R (eds) Handbook of aging and the social sciences, 2nd edn. Von Nostrand and Remold, New York, pp 36–61Google Scholar
  15. Haight M, Quan-Haase A, Corbett B (2014) Revisiting the digital divide in Canada. Inf Commun Soc 17(4):503–519.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2014.891633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hampton KN (2016) Persistent and pervasive community. Am Behav Sci 60(1):101–124.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764215601714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hampton K, Wellman B (2018) Lost and saved… again: the moral panic about the loss of community takes hold of social media. Contemp Sociol 47(6):643–651.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0094306118805415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hargittai E, Dobransky K (2017) Old dogs, new clicks. Can J Commun 42(2):196–212.  https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2017v42n2a3176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Baker M, Harris T, Stephenson D (2015) Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality. Perspect Psychol Sci 10(2):227–237.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691614568352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Madden M (2010) Older adults and social media. Pew Research Center, Washington, DC. https://www.pewinternet.org/2010/08/27/older-adults-and-social-media/. Accessed 19 Aug 2018Google Scholar
  21. Mok D, Wellman B, Carrasco JA (2010) Does distance matter in the age of the Internet? Urban Stud 47(13):2747–2783.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098010377363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Neves BB, Franz RL, Munteanu C, Baecker R (2017) Adoption and feasibility of a communication app to enhance social connectedness amongst frail institutionalized oldest old: an embedded case study. Inf Commun Soc 21:20.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1348534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Neves BB, Fonseca J, Amaro F, Pasqualotti A (2018) Social capital and Internet use in an age-comparative perspective with a focus on later life. PLoS One 13(2):e0192119.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0192119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Peek S, Luijkx KG, Rijnaard MD, Nieboer ME, van der Voort CS, Aarts S, van Hoof J, Vrijhoef H, Wouters E (2016) Older adults’ reasons for using technology while aging in place. Gerontology 62:226–237.  https://doi.org/10.1159/000430949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Putnam R (2000) Bowling alone, NewYork: Simon and SchusterGoogle Scholar
  26. Quan-Haase A, Martin K, Schreurs K (2016) Interviews with digital seniors, information. Commun Soc 19(5):691–707.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1140217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Quan-Haase A, Mo GY, Wellman B (2017) Connected seniors, information. Commun Soc 20(7):967–998.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2017.1305428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Quan-Haase A, Williams C, Kicevski M, Elueze I, Wellman B (2018a) Dividing the grey divide. Am Behav Sci 62(9):1207–1228.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764218777572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Quan-Haase A, Wang H, Wellman B, Zhang A (2018b) Weaving family connections on and offline. In: Neves BB, Casimiro C (eds) Connecting families. Policy Press, Bristol, pp 57–77Google Scholar
  30. Quan-Haase A, Zhang R, Wellman B, Wang H (2019) How older adults network via digital media. In: Graham M, Dutton WH (eds) Society and the Internet, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 96–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Quan-Haase A, Wellman B, Zhang R (forthcoming) Digital inequality among older adults. In: Hargittai E (ed) The handbook of digital inequality. Edward Elgar, LondonGoogle Scholar
  32. Rainie L, Wellman B (2012) Networked. MIT Press, Cambridge, MACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rainie L, Wellman B (2019) The triple revolution in everyday life. In: Graham M, Dutton WH (eds) Society and the Internet, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 27–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rios J, Wohn DY, Lee YH (2019) Effect of internet literacy in understanding older adults’ social capital and expected Internet support. Commun Res Rep 36:93.  https://doi.org/10.1080/08824096.2019.1586664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Robinson L, Cotten SR, Ono H, Quan-Haase A, Mesch G, Chen W … Stern MJ (2015) Digital inequalities and why they matter, information. Commun Soc 18(5):569–582.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2015.1012532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roy N, Dube R, Despres C, Freitas A, Legare F (2018) Choosing between staying at home or moving. PLoS One 13(1):e0189266.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schreurs K, Quan-Haase A, Martin K (2017) Problematizing the digital literacy paradox in the context of older adults’ ICT use. Can J Commun 42(2).  https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2017v42n2a3130
  38. Selwyn N (2004) The information aged. J Aging Stud 18:369–384.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagin.2004.06.008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shanahan MJ (2000) Pathways to adulthood in changing societies. Annu Rev Sociol 26:667–692.  https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.26.1.667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wang H, Zhang R, Wellman B (2018) Are older adults networked individuals? Information. Commun Soc 21(5):681–696.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2018.1428659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Weeks LE, Keefe J, MacDonald DJ (2012) Factors predicting relocation among older adults. J Hous Elder 26:355–371.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02763893.2011.653099CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wellman B, Quan-Haase A, Harper MG (2019) The networked question in the digital age. Netw Sci 1–22.  https://doi.org/10.1017/nws.2019.28
  43. Wu YT, Prina AM, Barnes LE, Matthews FE, Brayne C (2015) Relocation at older age. J Public Health 37(3):480–497.  https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdv050CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yuan S, Hussain SA, Hales KD, Cotten SR (2016) What do they like? Communication preferences and patterns of older adults in the United States. Educ Gerontol 42(3):163–174.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03601277.2015.1083392CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly-Gloria Harper
    • 1
  • Barry Wellman
    • 2
    Email author
  • Anabel Quan-Haase
    • 1
  1. 1.Western UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.NetLab NetworkTorontoCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Christine A. Mair
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)BaltimoreUSA