New Elders, Old Divides: ICTs, Inequalities and Well Being amongst Young Elderly Italians




Digital literacy, digital divide, health, leisure, use of Internet, Internet, social network, active ageing


When compared to more digitized western countries, Italy seems to have suffered a delay of ten years, in both the use of ICTs by the elderly and the study of the relation between elderly people, ICTs and ageing. Considering this time lapse, it is now urgent that we question the factors that influence the adoption of ICTs by the elderly and whether ICTs can provide cultural and relational resources that could improve the quality of life of elderly in terms of health and social life. This article describes the main findings of a survey carried out as part of a larger national research project focused on active ageing, which involved 900 Italian people aged between 65 and 74 years of age. The research investigate socio-demographic characteristics of young elderly Italian Internet users and factors related to their use of ICTs. Results have shown that there is a strong digital divide between young elderly Italians, which is primarly influenced –in terms of classical dynamics– by differences in economic, social and cultural capital. With regard to the theme of active ageing, if it is true that highly digitalized young elders are generally characterized by good health, at the present stage of this research it is not possible to indicate whether the adoption of ICTs guarantees social inclusion and participation..