You did nice job discussing how venturousness, technological anxiety, and cognitive age might impact older adults’ digital technology usage. Thinking about the findings presented by Peral-Peral, Arenas-Gaitán, and Villarejo-Ramos (2015), do you think there are other factors besides the three they examined that are important to consider when thinking about older adults’ usage of digital technology? If so, what are they and why might they be important to consider?
Peral-Peral, B., Arenas-Gaitán, J., & Villarejo-Ramos, Á. (2015). From digital divide to psycho-digital divide: Elders and online social networks.Comunicar, 23(45), 57–64.
Living in a technological based society can be difficult for those who are not willing to adapt or for those who do not know how to use digital technology properly. Robert and Maria are a perfect example of how those who do not know how to use technology find it difficult to not only keep in touch with family but to be connected with the world around them. Older adults may not know how to initially operate digital technologies, but they definitely should choose to use digital technology. The reason why they should is because they need to be able to have various options when wanting to communicate with their family members via smart phone, laptop, tablet. Another reason why is because our world is based off of technology and without it no one would know what is going on in the world as quick as they do.
Technology anxiety is common among new users, young and old, because unfortunately until someone shows them how to use the technology it will continue to be foreign. Robert and Maria are less likely to experience such anxiety with the help of their grandchildren and then once their grandchildren leave they would be able to navigate what they were taught and then if they had any issues they would be able to call their grandchildren and receive more help. Mentally older adults are subject to developing mental disorders (i.e., Alzheimer, dementia) but also cognitive age comes into play because unfortunately there are various barriers that come with understanding new technology at an older age (Peral-Peral, Arenas-Gaitán, & Villarejo-Ramos, 2015). Many older adults cannot process the complexity and lack of instructions when it comes to operating, but that is not always their fault. Older adults may be wiser when it comes to life experiences, but they are not the wisest when it comes to understanding technology. Another factor that comes into play when talking about older adults and their use of digital technology is that they show less venturousness than younger individuals. What this means is that older adults are less curious about digital technology, hence Robert and Maria putting the laptop in the spare bedroom (Peral-Peral, Arenas-Gaitán, & Villarejo-Ramos, 2015).
Older adults need support when it comes to digital technology because they need to be a part of the digital world, but at the same time they cannot do it alone. Just like Robert and Maria they need support from the younger generation to be connected to the world around them.
Peral-Peral, B., Arenas-Gaitán, J., & Villarejo-Ramos, Á. (2015). From digital divide to psycho-digital divide: Elders and online social networks. Comunicar, 23(45), 57–64.