Conference Agenda

RN01_03b: Ageing and Technology II
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Daniele Zaccaria, Golgi Cenci Foundation
Location: UP.3.205
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road


The Intra-action Of Learning And Teaching Digital Skills – Peer-tutoring As A Way to Support Belonging Of Older People In Finland

Kristiina Korjonen-Kuusipuro, Kaisa Pihlainen, Eija Kärnä

University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Digitalization seems to be an unstoppable development. This demands constant learning of new skills, and especially the older people are often seen at risk to be marginalized. Older people and aging are frequently perceived as problems and developers of digital services and technologies think that the ‘future’ seniors will be more enthusiastic and capable users of digital technologies (Suopajärvi, 2017). According to previous studies peer-tutoring is a good way to support learning of the older people, and it may also support the active membership and belonging to society. In our study, we have also observed that peer-tutoring creates new social communities around technology use.

In our presentation we explore peer-tutoring events organized for older people learning digital skills. Our paper is based on empirical research data collected in ACCESS-project in both rural and urban areas in Finland. We draw on ethnographic observations of digi-training events, and this data is supported by semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire. Our hypothesis is that in these training events new kinds of social settings are formed, and this increases well-being of the participants. Also belonging to society may co-develop. Therefore, we ask what kinds of objects, people, feelings, and actions are “thrown together” in the peer-tutoring events and what does this tell us about practices of belonging of older people?


Suopajärvi, T. (2017). Knowledge-making on ‘ageing in a smart city’ as socio-material power dynamics of participatory action research. Action Research 15(4), 386-401.

Older People Smartphone Internet Use In Daily Life: Practices And Meanings

Alessandro Caliandro

University of Bath, United Kingdom

A growing number of people are using online services to connect and communicate and Social Networking Sites (SNSs) have rapidly become the most used web services in the world. Despite the digital divide among generations tends to persist in most European countries, older people are becoming increasingly familiar with ICT technologies. Most of the literature on ageing and ICT focuses on the use of the Internet and computers. There is currently little research on Internet and social media use (i.e. instant messaging and SNSs) from mobile devices, despite they have become the preferred way to access the digital world. The few studies in this specific field are feasibility studies or focus on adoption patterns.

This paper aims to contribute to filling in the knowledge gap about older people practices of use of Internet and social media from smartphones, based on a short-term ethnographic study. Adopting digital methods, we collected and analysed log data from smartphones of 30 people aged 65-75 and subsequently conducted 20 in-depth interviews and 3 focus groups involving the same participants – in order to deepen the understanding of digital data. Based on the data collected, the paper presents older people’s practices of use of Smartphones and SNSs in their daily lives and discusses the processes of sense-making they develop around these practices.

The inter(intra)generational use of ICTs among grandmothers: a field study in Italy, Romania, Spain and Israel.

Simone Carlo1, Catarina Rebelo2

1Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy; 2Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia CIES-IUL, Lisboa, Portugal

Our research aims to investigate the role played by media and ICTs in building intergenerational and intragenerational relations for the grandmothers (Colombo et al, 2016). The project aims to understand how grandmothers use Facebook and digital devices (computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones) within the family and the friend networks, the role of communication technologies for entertainment and the resistance and difficulties in using ICTs for elderly.

Starting from the theoretical framework of mediatization (Couldry - Hepp, 2013), the research specifically investigates:

- the possible relationships in place between the grandmothers, children and nephew, with the aim of understanding the dynamics of intergenerational exchange, and how grandmothers experience the use of Internet as a tool to facilitate family communication with family members.

- the possible relationships in place between the grandmothers and their friends with the aim of understanding the dynamics of intragenerational exchange, and how grandmothers experience the use of Internet as a tool of communication and entertainment and for leisure activities with friends.

- if different cultural and national contexts produce different uses of digital media in everyday life of elderly.

Data for research analysis was collected through 15 focus groups conducted with 96 grandmothers living in Italy, Romania, Spain and Israel.

Our focus groups (4 in Italy, 3 in Romania, 5 in Spain, 3 in Israel) show an intricate scenario: although the trigger to start to use new digital technology comes from family and people belonging to different generations, the daily use of the ICTs reveals a complex relationship with children and grandchildren regarding technological issues, which often characterized by incompatible netiquette, different competences and lack of learning assistance.

(Re-)Organization of Home Care through Digital Assisting Technologies for Elderly People?

Jana Katrina Deisner

Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Facing an expected increase in the average age of the population, numerous measures are currently being taken in Germany. One of them is the promotion and development of digital assistance systems aimed at enabling older people to live longer, self-determined lives within their private home. These technologies not only tend to shift care from the inpatient to the outpatient sector, they also often moderate the boundaries between formal and informal care. While the imagined users are the elderly themselves and their relatives, actual care often takes place in organized contexts. These contexts enable and restrict the use of such technologies on the one hand, but are also shaped by them on the other. Social science research has so far focused on the consequences of such technologies for the elderly users. My organization centered multilevel praxis based approach in contrast raises the Question: How do digital assistance systems for seniors (re)organize home care?

To answer this question, I conduct qualitative interviews in several projects that are developing or already operating a digital assistance system.

An initial analysis of secondary data, participation in three conferences in the field and first explorative interviews suggest that, although the organization of care by digital systems is not intended by the developers, the technologies make demands on formal and informal care by defining their interfaces (generating emergency calls or configuring thresholds based on caregivers’ expectations).

My PhD project started in April 2018 and I will discuss my concept with empirical examples and first results.