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


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.


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...

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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.


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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