Elder participation in cyberspace: A qualitative analysis of Israeli retirees

Edith Blit-Cohen, Howard Litwin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations

Abstract

As computer networking becomes increasingly important, it is crucial to examine how this technology is used by the older generation. The present inquiry considers the nature and meaning of elder participation in cyberspace and the degree to which computer-mediated communication increases the social capital of older adults. The study compares 10 elder computer participants and 10 nonparticipants by means of open-ended interviews. Three primary themes emerged from the interviews. The first concerns the different conceptions of old age held by the cyber-participants and the nonparticipants, and in particular, differing views on learning capacity in later life. The second is related to the varying conceptions of time in old age, and orientation to the past or to the future. The third theme relates to the way in which the elderly persons involved in the virtual world relate to their computer, attributing human qualities to this new addition to their social network.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)385-398
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2004

Keywords

  • Cyberspace
  • Old age
  • Social capital
  • Virtual community

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