E-literacy and the grey digital divide: a review with recommendations

Anne Morris
2007, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. pp. 13 - 28

Abstract


Purpose:  Reviews e-literacy in the context of Internet use and non-use by older people.  Discusses the perceived barriers to Internet use and provides suggestions as to how the “grey” digital divide can be reduced.

Methodology: Reviews literature but draws heavily on survey research conducted in Derbyshire and Scotland.

Findings: Although the United Kingdom (UK) population is currently ageing and the use of the Internet amongst adults is increasing, current national statistics indicate that older people make up only a small proportion of those online, resulting in what can be aptly described as a “grey” digital divide. Existing literature indicates that older people are missing out on the enormous potential the Internet has to benefit their lives.  Without access, older citizens are rapidly becoming disenfranchised.  Perceived barriers to e-literacy include lack of interest, feeling too old, fear of new technology, lack of access to IT, lack of IT skills and experience, cost, concerns about security, and problems associated with disability.

Originality:  Previous studies have examined Internet use by different sectors of the population, including older people. This paper brings these findings together and offers recommendations for increasing e-literacy in the context of Internet use among older people.

Keywords


e-literacy, information literacy, elderly, pensioners, Internet

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