CSI launches national research project The Implications of Proxy Internet Use for the Internet Skills of Older Adults


Research team of the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Informatics (UL FSS CSI) has launched a new basic research project The implications of proxy internet use (PIU) for the internet skills of older adults. The project launched on 1st September 2020 and will last for three years. The project is funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.

The head of the project is a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at the Faculty of Social Sciences Andraž Petrovčič, PhD. Among other project team members are also members of CSI Vasja Vehovar, PhD, Vesna Dolničar, PhDDarja Grošelj, PhD,
Katja Prevodnik, PhD, and others.

The aims of the proposed basic project address the overarching research question of what the main determinants and outcomes of PIU for older adults are on a theoretical and methodological level by (1) positioning the concept of PIU within existing theoretical models of digital inequalities and making a set of conceptual advances for a better understanding of the relationship between PIU and internet skills, and (2) using these innovative models to develop a new methodological instrument for measuring PIU, as well as validating existing measurement instruments to assess the level of internet skills among older adults.

The project addresses a research gap that has been identified in existing literature and will add to the advancement of the research methods in the field of digital inequality research. The originality of the project and scientific breakthrough consists of

  1. conceptually integrating PIU within models of digital inequality by developing a new conceptual and explanatory PIU model focusing on older adults;
  2. advancing our understanding of how PIU relates to older adults’ internet skills by identifying mechanisms and socio-technical factors through which PIU leads to learning or leaning effects;
  3. explaining the association between older adults’ offline contexts (their personal, social, cultural and economic resources), PIU and tangible outcomes of their (in)direct digital engagement;
  4. studying internet skills learning in informal, familial contexts and explicating its specific attributes for the formal settings of internet skills learning;
  5. shifting the lens from intragenerational forms of support as the only conceptual basis for understanding the relationship between social support networks and PIU to intergenerational forms as well;
  6. developing a new, comprehensive instrument to measure the factors, forms and outcomes of PIU in terms of internet skills learning in different contexts; and
  7. upgrading and actualizing the measurement methods to assess internet skills among older adults.

Back to list of notificationsPublished: 10. September 2020 | Category: News