Technostress: A New Threat to Wellbeing in Later Life
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Numerous studies conducted during the past decade have demonstrated an overall positive association between Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use and Subjective Wellbeing (SWB) in later life. Without detracting from the value of previous research, it should be noted that most studies on ICT use and SWB in older adulthood focused on positive impacts, typically neglecting negative effects. By concentrating on technostress (stress created by ICT use), a destructive impact of ICT that is highly documented in research on younger users, this study aims at illuminating a potential risk factor associated with technology use in old age. The study was based on an online survey of 537 Internet users aged 60 years and over. Relying on constructs identified in previous studies, a new technostress scale was designed specifically for older adults. Additional measurements related to users’ background characteristics, Internet use patterns and satisfaction with life. Analysis indicated that female gender, older age, less education and income and poorer perceived health correlated significantly with higher technostress levels. Furthermore, Internet use experience, frequency and sophistication were negatively associated with technostress, as was life satisfaction—a correlation that remained significant even after controlling for background variables and Internet use patterns. These findings suggest that technostress is key factor in explaining third-level digital divides (i.e., disparities in benefits gained from technology use) and ought to be considered a threat to wellbeing in older adulthood. Future research should explore its antecedents and consequences and identify interventions useful in alleviating technostress and its effects on seniors.
Learning to use digital technologies in later life: affordances and constraints
1The University of Melbourne, Australia; 2University of Toronto, Canada
Globally, older adults (65+) are still less likely to use the Internet than other age groups and are more likely to discontinue use with age. Research has shown that digital exclusion is an emerging form of social exclusion, as older adults are unable to access services and information that can increase social participation and well-being. Despite the growing number of projects to bridge digital divide(s), little attention has been paid to what older adults define as critical digital skills and to what they perceive as vital to ensure a safe and efficient use of digital technologies. This lack of evidence affects how we design and assess the impact of senior training programs, while reinforcing a perception of older adults as passive learners and neglecting their voices, needs, and aspirations. To help bridge this gap, we report on a longitudinal study of 17 older adults learning to use a tablet and a communication app in Canada. By drawing on mixed-methods data that included interviews, field observations, and usability evaluations, we explored their perspectives on training and adoption of digital technology. Findings reveal a rich picture of sociotechnical meanings, self-presentation efforts, and impression management by participants and researchers alike.
Mature Adults and the Information Society. An Analysis through PIAAC Data
University of Zaragoza, Spain
In the current information society, the skills acquired during formal education are quickly obsolete in the lifecourse of a person, hence the importance of Lifelong Learning. If we focus on Mature Adults (MA, people over 55, following the third age range provided by the Survey of Adult Skills - PIAAC -, OECD, 2013), this situation is even more pressing given the risk of exclusion that can be suffered by this population group, especially in the workplace. In the present contribution we analyze the competences of MAs, with special emphasis on their use of ICTs and digital skills, taking into account their sociopersonal variables. To do this, we used the microdata provided by the PIAAC survey (OECD, 2013) performing a descriptive statistical study, first, to characterize the sample in comparison to others age groups. Secondly, a bivariate analysis was carried out using correlation and binary logistic regression, to analyze the relationship between sociopersonal characteristics, digital skills and other competences measured in the scale. The results show an increasing inclusion of MAs into Information Society, starting to break the generational digital divide. It is also shown that when the domain of informational competences is greater, it has a relevant effect on the other skills measured in the scale. We conclude that a greater democratization of the information society is necessary for a more inclusive society, defending a humanistic approach to lifelong learning and lifewide learning as a fundamental strategy to get it.
How Convenient is Everyday Life?: Older Practitioners and the Migration of Practices Online
Lancaster University, United Kingdom
There have been concerted efforts in the public sphere to migrate much of our everyday life to the internet. In the pursuit of increasing standards of convenience and speeds of access to practices, such as those of shopping, banking and communication, much of everyday life, for younger cohorts of practitioners, is now enacted via their information technologies. But how does this affect those older cohorts (aged 65+) engaged in these practices? How do they experience the migration of these practices into the online sphere?
Following a practice-theoretical approach, this presentation will explore interview material collected with 10 older participants who were in the process of integrating apps, and the tablet computer through which they were accessed, into their daily lives. By taking a selection of the practices discussed (including photography and Scrabble) and exploring them in more detail, this presentation will demonstrate how the integration of the internet into everyday practices affects the conduct of their performance by older practitioners. By critically examining the notion of internet-dependence, in relation to everyday practices, this presentation seeks to provoke and contribute to discussions concerning ideas of internet-dependent convenience, and how these notions affect older practitioners who feel increasingly “left behind”.