CSI members have organized a panel at the ICA 2021 conference
The CSI research group of the project The Implication of Proxy Internet Use for the Internet Skills of Older Adults (dr. Andraž Petrovčič, dr. Katja Prevodnik and dr. Darja Grošelj) in collaboration with dr. Bianca C. Reisdorf (Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA), organized a panel “The implications of social support and later life for the digital inclusion of older adults” at the Annual international conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), with contributions of world-leading researchers in the field of digital inequalities: Anabel Quan-Haase, Barry Wellman, Eszter Hargittai, Teresa Correa, and Sheila R. Cotten.
The participants presented the results of quantitative and qualitative studies investigating the role of social support in digital inclusion of older adults. Social support plays an important role in enabling internet access and is a crucial source of motivation and knowledge for improving digital skills. The most recent conceptual and empirical findings on different dimensions of social support that shape the forms and outcomes of older adults' digital engagement were presented at the panel.
The panel organizers presented a paper “Digital gradations in transition from middle to later life: A typology of internet users and their patterns of social support”. Based on representative national data from the 2018 SJM survey, the study addresses the question of how differences in internet skills and uses among older adults are shaped by access to different forms of social support. Four groups of older internet users were identified with cluster analysis, confirming that ageing is associated with the heterogeneity of digital engagement. However, the breadth of internet activities and the level of internet skills narrows with age, while the socioeconomic background and sources of social support reveal other important differences between the groups.
The study is supported by the Slovenian Research Agency under Grants J5-2558 (The Implication of Proxy Internet Use for the Internet Skills of Older Adults), bilateral project (ARRS BI-US/18-20-051) A multidimensinal perspective of gradations in digital inclusion through examining access, motivation, skills, uses and outcomes of online engagement (Slovenia-USA) and research program P5-0399 (Internet research).