Internet, elderly, university, ICT, technology, social inclusion, stereotypes


The Internet is increasingly prominent in all walks of life, and Web connection is a key factor in social integration. The rise in life expectancy and quality of life mean that our active seniors now represent a growing sector in society. This study analyses what senior citizens use the Internet for and why, as well as the main benefits of its usage and the perceived obstacles of those who are non-users. The results derive from a questionnaire completed by senior citizens enrolled on university courses for older people, and they show that university seniors frequently connect to the Internet –daily or 2 or 3 times per week–, and use it mainly to look up facts, contact family and friends, for course work and to read the press. They consider the Internet easy to use but they could survive without it. For those who do not have access to the Internet, lack of knowledge about how to use it is the main barrier; yet they do not consider themselves incapable of learning how to use the Internet if they wished to do so. The data gathered from the survey challenge negative stereotypes of older people, and encourage us to modify our view of active seniors as disconnected from and incapable of using the Web and instead see their progress and motivation to learn as something highly positive.


Aguaded, J.I. (2009). El Parlamento Europeo apuesta por la alfabetización mediática. Comunicar, 32; 7-8.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Aguaded, J.I. (2010a). La Unión Europea dictamina una nueva Recomendación sobre alfabetización mediática en el entorno digital en Europa. Comunicar, 34; 7-8.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Aguaded, J.I. (2010b). La formación en grados y posgrados para la alfabetización mediática. Comunicar, 35; 7-8.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Bargh, J.A. & McKenna, K.Y. (2004). The Internet and Social Life. Annual Review of Psychology, 55; 573-590.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Bennett, G.G. & Glasgow, R.E. (2009). The Delivery of Public Health Interventions Via the Internet: Actualizing their Potential. Annual Review of Public Health, 30; 273-292.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Boechler, P.M., Foth, D. & Watchorn, R. (2007). Educational Technology Research with Older Adults: Ad-justments in Protocol. Materials, and Procedures. Educational Gerontology, 33; 221-235.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Cabero, J. & Aguaded, J.I. (2003). Presentación: tecnologías en la era de la globalización. Comunicar, 21; 12-14.

Link Google Scholar

Carnagey, N.L; Anderson, C.A. & Bushman, B.J. (2007). The Effect of Video Game Violence on Physiological Desensitization to Real-life Violence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43; 489-496.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Christopherson, K.M. (2007). The Positive and Negative Implications of Anonymity in Internet Social Interac-tions: ‘On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog’. Computers in Human Behavior, 23; 3.038-3.056.

Link Google Scholar

Cuddy, A.J.; Norton, M.I. & Fiske, S.T. (2005). This Old Stereotype: The Pervasiveness and Persistence of the Elderly Stereotype. Journal of Social Issues, 61; 267-285.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Cutler, S.F. (2005). Ageism and Technology. Generations, 29; 67-72.

Link Google Scholar

DiMaggio, P.; Hargittai, E.; Neuman, W.R. & Robinson, J.P. (2001). Social Implications of the Internet. Annual Review of Sociology, 27; 307-336.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Ellison, N.B.; Steinfield, C. & Lampe, C. (2007). The Benefits of Facebook ‘Friends’: Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12; 1143-1168.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Fainholc, B. (2006). La lectura crítica en Internet: evaluación y aplicación de sus recursos. Comunicar, 26; 155-162.

Link Google Scholar

Gatto, S.L. & Tak, S.H. (2008). Computer, Internet and E-mail Use among Older Adults: Benefits and Barriers. Educational Gerontology, 34; 800-811.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Hernández, E; Pousada, M. & Gomez, B. (2009). ICT and Older People: beyond Usability. Educational Ge-rontology, 35; 226-245.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

IMSERSO (2009). Las personas mayores en España. Informe 2008. Madrid: Ministerio de Sanidad y Política Social: Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales

Link Google Scholar

Katz, J.E.; Rice, R.E. & Aspden, P. (2001). The Internet, 1995-2000: Access, Civic Involvement and Social In-teraction. The American Behavioral Scientist, 45; 405-419.

Link Google Scholar

Livingstone, S. & Helsper, E. (2010). Balancing Opportunities and risks in Teenagers’ Use of the Internet: the Role of Online Skills and Internet Self-efficacy. New Media & Society, 12; 309-329.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Loscertales, F. & Núñez, T. (2008). Ver cine en TV: una ventana a la socialización familiar. Comunicar, 31; 137-143.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Manna, W.C.; Belchiorb, P.; Tomitac, M.R. & Kempd, B.J. (2005). Computer Use by Middle-aged and Older Adults with Disabilities. Technology and Disability, 17; 1-9.

Link Google Scholar

Morahan, J.M. (2004). How Internet Users Find, Evaluate and Use Online Health Information: A Cross-Cultural Review. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7; 497-510.

Link Google Scholar

Nie, N.H. (2001). Sociability, Interpersonal Relations and the Internet: Reconciling Conflicting Findings. American Behavioral Scientist, 45; 420-435.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Núñez, T. & Loscertales (2008). El cine de animación visto en casa: dibujos animados y TV. Comunicar, 31; 757-763.

Link Google Scholar

Pavón, F. (2000). Tecnologías avanzadas: nuevos retos de comunicación para los mayores. Comunicar, 15; 133-139.

Link Google Scholar

Rodríguez-Vázquez, F.M. (2008). TV y mayores: ¿educar o deseducar? Comunicar, 31; 287-291.

Link Google Scholar

Selwyn, N.; Gorard, S.; Furlong, J. & Madden, L. (2003). Older Adults’ Use of Information and Communica-tions Technology in Everyday Life. Ageing and Society, 23; 561-582.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Sheets, D.J. (2005). Aging with Disabilities: Ageism and More. Generations, 29; 37-41.

Link Google Scholar

Skitka, L.J. & Sargis, E.G. (2006). The Internet as psychological laboratory. Annual Review of Psychology, 57; 529-55.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Slegers, K.; Van Boxtel, M.P. & Jolles, J. (2009). The Efficiency of Using Everyday Technological Devices by Older Adults: the Role of Cognitive Functions. Ageing and Society, 29; 309-325.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Strecher, V. (2007). Internet Methods for Delivering Behavioral and Health-related Interventions (eHealth). Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 3; 53-76.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Suh, B. & Han, I. (2003). The Impact of Customer Trust and Perception of Security Control on the Acceptance of Electronic Commerce. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 7; 135-161.

Link Google Scholar

Tse, M.M.; Choi, K.Y. & Leung, R.S. (2008). E-Health for Older People: the Use of Technology in Health Promotion. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11; 475-479.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Villani, S. (2001). Impact of Media on Children and Adolescents: A 10-year Review of the Research. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40; 392-401.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar

Xavier, P. & Cabecinhas, R. (2000). Learning about Social Psychology by Researching on Computer Mediated Communication. IAMCR 2000 Conference. Singapore Proceedings. ( (02/10/2010).

Link Google Scholar

Yang, S.C. & Tung, C. (2007). Comparison of Internet Addicts and Non-addicts in Taiwanese High School. Computers in Human Behavior, 23; 79-96.

Link DOI | Link Google Scholar


This work has no financial support


Technical information


Metrics of this article

Views: 35988

Abstract readings: 31998

PDF downloads: 3990

Full metrics of Comunicar 37

Views: 914636

Abstract readings: 748882

PDF downloads: 165754

Cited by

Cites in Web of Science

Arenas-Gaitan, J; Ramos, AFV and Peral-Peral, B. A posteriori segmentation of elderly internet users: applying PLS-POS MARKETING INTELLIGENCE & PLANNING , 2020.

Martinez-Pecino, Roberto; Duran, Mercedes. I Love You but I Cyberbully You: The Role of Hostile Sexism JOURNAL OF INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE, 2019.

Silva, Patricia; Matos, Alice Delerue; Martinez-Pecino, Roberto. Confidant Network and Quality of Life of Individuals Aged 50+: The Positive Role of Internet Use CYBERPSYCHOLOGY BEHAVIOR AND SOCIAL NETWORKING, 2018.

Bohorquez, Emanuel; Guarda, Teresa; Pena, Humberto; Leon, Marcelo; Caiche, William; Villao, Jose. Web Prosumers: The Intangible Wealth of Education and Economics Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, 2018.

Silva, Patricia; Delerue Matos, Alice; Martinez-Pecino, Roberto. E-inclusion: Beyond individual socio-demographic characteristics PLOS ONE, 2017.

Faba-Perez, Cristina; Patino-Agudo, Rocio. The Training of Professionals in the Information Sciences from A New Perspective: Seniors INVESTIGACION BIBLIOTECOLOGICA, 2017.

Feijoo Fernandez, Beatriz; Garcia-Gonzalez, Aurora. Senior university students and Facebook uses COMUNICACION Y HOMBRE, 2016.

da Silva, Viviane Gomes; Silva de Souza, Ranniery Mazzilly; Oliveira, Mafalda; Medeiros, Rafael Lima. Web Accessibility for Elderly 9TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THEORY AND PRACTICE OF ELECTRONIC GOVERNANCE (ICEGOV 2016), 2016.

Teresa Padilla-Carmona, M.; Suarez-Ortega, Magdalena; Fe Sanchez-Garcia, Maria. Digital inclusion of mature students: Analysis of their attitudes and ICT competences REVISTA COMPLUTENSE DE EDUCACION, 2016.

Peral-Peral, Begona; Arenas-Gaitan, Jorge; Villarejo-Ramos, Angel-Francisco. From Digital Divide to Psycho-digital Divide: Elders and Online Social Networks COMUNICAR, 2015.

Sanchez-Rodriguez, Jose; Ruiz-Palmero, Julio; Sanchez-Rivas, Enrique. Problematic use of social networks in university students REVISTA COMPLUTENSE DE EDUCACION, 2015.

Maria Ortega-Tudela, Juana; Ortiz-Colon, Ana Ma. Social networks and lifelong learning in older people REVISTA COMPLUTENSE DE EDUCACION, 2015.

Cruz Diaz, Maria Del Rocio; Roman Garcia, Sara; Pavon Rabasco, Francisco. The use of communication technologies to media literacy skills in elderly people REDES COM-REVISTA DE ESTUDIOS PARA EL DESARROLLO SOCIAL DE LA COMUNICACION, 2015.

Martinez-Pecino, Roberto; Matos, Alice Delerue; Silva, Patricia. Portuguese older people and the Internet: Interaction, uses, motivations, and obstacles COMMUNICATIONS-EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION RESEARCH, 2013.

Cites in Scopus

Peral-Peral, B., Arenas-Gaitán, J., Villarejo-Ramos, A.-F.. From digital divide to psycho-digital divide: Elders, online social networks), Comunicar, .

Sánchez-Rodríguez, J., Ruiz Palmero, J., Sánchez-Rivas, E.. Problematic use of social networks in university students [Uso problemático de las redes sociales en estudiantes universitarios]), Revista Complutense de Educacion, .

Ortega-Tudela, J.M., Ortiz Colón, A.M.. Social networks, lifelong learning in older people [Redes sociales y formación permanente en personas mayores]), Revista Complutense de Educacion, .

Padilla-Carmona, M.T., Suárez-Ortega, M., Sánchez-García, M.F.. Digital inclusion of mature students: Analysis of their attitudes, ICT competences [Inclusión digital de los estudiantes adultos que acceden a la universidad: Análisis de sus actitudes y competencias digitales]), Revista Complutense de Educacion, .

Roldán Herencia, G.J.. Elder people’s musical education at Granada University, digital literacy [Educación musical de adultos en la Universidad de Granada y alfabetización digital]), Opcion, .

Link Google Scholar

Faba-Pérez, C., Patiño-Agudo, R.. The training of professionals in the information sciences from a new perspective: Seniors [La formación de profesionales universitarios en información y documentación desde una nueva perspectiva: La tercera edad]), Investigacion Bibliotecologica, .

Silva, P., Matos, A.D., Martinez-Pecino, R.. E-inclusion: Beyond individual socio-demographic characteristics), PLoS ONE, .

Gladys, H.R., Annia, S.H. . Use of the internet by students of a mexican public university | [Empleo del internet por estudiantes de una Universidad pública mexicana]), Revista de Ciencias Sociales, .

Link Google Scholar

Bohórquez, E., Guarda, T., Peña, H., León, M., Caiche, W., Villao, J.. Web prosumers: The intangible wealth of education, economics), Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, .

Silva, P., Delerue Matos, A., Martinez-Pecino, R.. Confidant Network, Quality of Life of Individuals Aged 50+: The Positive Role of Internet Use), Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, .

González García, E., Amaro Agudo, A., Martínez Heredia, N.. Comparative study of Competences 2.0 between young, senior people. Present time, challenges for their inclusion [Estudio comparativo de las competencias 2.0 entre jóvenes y mayores. Actualidad y retos para su inclusión]), Espacios, .

Link Google Scholar

Martinez-Pecino, R., Durán, M.. I Love You but I Cyberbully You: The Role of Hostile Sexism), Journal of Interpersonal Violence, .

Arenas-Gaitán, J., Villarejo Ramos, A.F., Peral-Peral, B.. A posteriori segmentation of elderly internet users: applying PLS-POS), Marketing Intelligence, Planning, .

Agudo, A.A., García, E.G., Martínez-Heredia, N. . Challenges for inclusive citizenship: Digital literacy between elderly and young | [Desafíos para una ciudadanía inclusiva: Competencia digital entre adultos mayores y jóvenes]), Comunicacao Midia e Consumo, .

Martinez-Pecino, R., Delerue Matos, A., Silva, P.. Portuguese older people, the Internet: Interaction, uses, motivations,, obstacles), Communications, .

Martínez-Pecino, R., Reig, R., Marín-Sánchez, M.. A decade of health message in communication journals indexed in IN-RECS (2000-2011) [Una década del mensaje sobre la salud en las revistas de comunicación indexadas en IN-RECS (2000-2011)]), Estudios Sobre el Mensaje Periodistico, .

Silva, P., Matos, A.D., Martinez-Pecino, R.. The Protective Role of the Internet in Depression for Europeans Aged 50+ Living Alone), Social Media and Society, .

Faba-Pérez, C., Calero-Prieto, I.. Public libraries and the integration of technologies in the seniors: the case of the province of Badajoz (Extremadura, Spain)), Revista General de Informacion y Documentacion, .

Da Silva, V.G., Silva De Souza, R.M., Oliveira, M., Medeiros, R.L.. Web accessibility for elderly), ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, .

Cites in Google Scholar

Currently there are no citations to this document


Alternative metrics

How to cite

Martínez-Pecino, R., Cabecinhas, R., & Loscertales-Abril, F. (2011). University senior students on the Web. [Mayores universitarios en la Red]. Comunicar, 37, 89-95.



Oxbridge Publishing House

4 White House Way

B91 1SE Sollihul United Kingdom


Editorial office

Creative Commons

This website uses cookies to obtain statistical data on the navigation of its users. If you continue to browse we consider that you accept its use. +info X