From Digital Divide to Psycho-digital Divide: Elders and Online Social Networks
Keywords:Elders, digital divide, active ageing, cognitive age, technology anxiety, venturesomeness, ICT, online social networks
The present study analyzes the evolution of the concept of the digital gap with the elderly from the perspective of active ageing and in the context of the use of online social networks as a communication instrument. We consider that socio-demographic variables are not enough to explain the elderly’s use or non-use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Psychological variables, such as cognitive age, technology anxiety and the level of adventurousness complement the former and can even explain more the elderly person’s behaviour regarding the use of online social networks. The results come from a sample of elderly people who are students of an Experience Classroom in a university. They allow us to confirm that our doubts about the stereotype of the elderly concerning the digital divide are correct and that the psychological variables serve to a greater extent to show the significant differences with respect to determining their profile. The elderly user of online social networks feels younger, experiences a lower level of technology anxiety and is more adventurous. In general, psychological characteristics therefore offer a more discriminant power than those that are socio-demographic. This is why we propose the concept of a psycho-digital divide..