Not good days for technophobes: older internet users during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Abstract

Older individuals who face overwhelming threats may develop a Hostile World Scenario (HWS). Internet use may be helpful in regulating HWS, but technophobia–fear of or discomfort with modern technologies, a phenomenon especially common among older adults–may constrain users’ online activity and the benefits derived therefrom. Relying on an online survey of 407 internet users aged 60 and up, this study explored the extent to which technophobia affected their ability to use the internet in a beneficial manner during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results demonstrated significant negative associations between technophobia and internet use scope and intensity. Technophobia also correlated positively with users’ HWS–a correlation that remained significant even after controlling for background variables and online activities. The findings suggest that technophobia plays a role in digital divides among seniors and constrains adjustment. It should thus be considered a risk factor in later life during routine and adverse times alike.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-171
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Gerontology
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

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