Technophobia among older Internet users

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations

Abstract

Internet use may be helpful in maintaining older adults’ independence, social connectedness, and quality of life. High levels of technophobia (fear of modern technologies or discomfort with them), however, may constrain older Internet users’ online activity and limit the benefits they derive therefrom. The literature on technophobia in later life tends to focus on nonusers and ignore older individuals who already use advanced technologies. Relying on an online survey of 537 Internet users aged 60 and up, this study explored the extent to which technophobia constrains older users’ online activity. The results demonstrated varying levels of technophobia among users and significant associations between technophobia and Internet use patterns, including type and complexity of use. Technophobia also correlated with users’ education, perceived health and well-being: Technophobes tended to be less satisfied with their lives—a correlation that remained significant even after controlling for background variables and online activities. The findings suggest that technophobia plays a role at both the first and second levels of the digital divide among seniors. They also indicate that technophobia may be a risk factor in later life, suggesting that older users ought to be taken into account in planning measures to reduce technophobia among seniors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-162
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Gerontology
Volume44
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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