Hannah R. Marston (The Open University, UK)
Linda Shore (Glasgow School of Art, UK)
Laura Stoops (Age NI, UK)
Robbie S. Turner (Spektrum-Group, Spain)

Transgenerational Technology and Interactions for the 21st Century: Perspectives and Narratives

ISBN: 978-1-83982-639-9, eISBN: 978-1-83982-638-2

Publication date: 25 October 2022


Marston, H.R., Shore, L., Stoops, L. and Turner, R.S. (2022), "Prelims", Transgenerational Technology and Interactions for the 21st Century: Perspectives and Narratives, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xxiii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022 Hannah R. Marston, Linda Shore, Laura Stoops and Robbie S. Turner

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Transgenerational Technology and Interactions for the 21st Century

Title Page

Transgenerational Technology and Interactions for the 21st Century: Perspectives and Narratives



The Open University, UK


Glasgow School of Art, UK


Age NI, UK



Spektrum-Group, Spain

United Kingdom – North America – Japan India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2022

Copyright © 2022 Hannah R. Marston, Linda Shore, Laura Stoops, and Robbie S. Turner. Published under exclusive license by Emerald Publishing Limited.

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ISBN: 978-1-83982-639-9 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-83982-638-2 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-83982-640-5 (Epub)


List of Figures and Tables xi
List of Abbreviations xv
About the Authors xix
Foreword xxi
Acknowledgements xxiii
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
Historical Events of the Twentieth Century – the 1980s–1990 5
1990–2000s 7
2000s–Present 9
Aims and Objectives 9
Coining of New Terms 10
Overview of Chapters 10
Chapter 2 – The Current State of Technology and Digital Games 10
Chapter 3 – Adoption, Benefits and Challenges of Technology: Insights from Citizens in Northern Ireland 11
Chapter 4 – Technology in the Role of Stakeholders, Social Enterprise, Industry and Smart Age-friendly Ecosystems in the 21st Century 11
Chapter 5 – “The Older You Get, People Get Less Active, and Then They Feel the Cold” 11
Chapter 6 – Digital Inequities and Society 12
Chapter 7 – The Research Environment 12
Chapter 8 – Not a Conclusion – But a Manifesto! 12
Chapter 9 – The Journey: Author Biographies and Trajectories 12
Chapter 2: The Current State of Technology and Digital Games 13
Introduction 13
Technologies of the 20th and 21st Centuries 14
Technology Use in a Global Pandemic 16
Generational Overview 19
Digital Games and the Current State of Play 19
Generation X and Digital Gaming 26
Transgenerational Gaming 28
Why is There Little Insights into Digital Games and Older Adults Who Are Ageing Without Children (AWOC)? 28
Interaction and Engagement 29
X-Reality (XR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) 30
The Rise of Apps 32
Assistive Technology and the Internet of Things (IoTs) 33
Wearable and Implantable Devices 34
Summary 36
Chapter 3: Adoption, Benefits and Challenges of Technology: Insights from Citizens in Northern Ireland 37
Introduction 37
Background 37
The Age NI Team 38
Engagement with Older People and Service Provision 38
Working With Members of the Community 38
Informed Consent and Recruitment 38
Data Collection 39
Topic Guide and Questions for Focus Groups 40
Findings from Online Survey 40
Online Survey by Respondents: Characteristics 40
Access to the Internet and Purpose 43
Digital Device Ownership, Use and Purpose 44
Learning and Motivations to Technology Use 46
Changes in Technology Usability in the Home and the Workplace 46
Sharing Information 49
Workshops 50
Benefits to Using Technology 52
Enhancing Social Connections, Geography Displacement and Interactions 52
Adoption of (New) Platforms and Devices 54
Leisure Activities 56
Positive Aspirations for Technology – Thoughts and Attitudes 59
Intergenerational Engagement 61
Digital skills, Confidence, and Training 63
Surveillance 64
Challenges to Using Technology 64
Adopting New Technologies and Safety Concerns 64
Health and Technology 66
Learning and Training 68
Technology Barriers and Negative Experiences 70
Privacy, Data, Scamming and Information 71
Summary 72
Chapter 4: Technology in the Role of Stakeholders, Social Enterprise, Industry and Smart Age-friendly Ecosystems in the 21st Century 75
Introduction 75
Setting the Scene 76
Gerontechnology from the Beginning 77
Ageing in Place, Age-friendly Cities and Communities (AFCC), Ecosystems and Frameworks 81
AFCC Design Implementation from Dubai and Barcelona 86
Dementia Friendly Cities and Communities 91
Coastal Regions 93
A Global Pandemic 95
Technology Use in the Pandemic 99
Digital Communities Wales 101
Age NI and the Role Digital Technology Plays in this Stakeholder 103
Age NI Consultative Forum 103
Transition to Digital Technology in the Context of COVID-19 104
March 2020 – the Start of Lockdown 104
June to August 2020 – Easing of Restrictions 105
September to November 2020 – Uncertainty and Lockdown 105
November 2021 – Update 106
Key Benefits and Challenges to Embracing Digital Technology 107
Social Enterprises and the Role Digital Technology Plays in this Segment of Society 108
How Does Technology Play a Role in Industry? 108
Summary 109
Chapter 5: ‘The Older You Get, People Get Less Active, and Then They Feel the Cold’ (Quote from the Field – Shore, 2019) 113
Introduction 113
Ageing Experience and Empathy 114
Emotional Design and Empathy 115
Ageing Experience 115
Older Adults and Technology Accessibility 115
Research Experiences 116
Perceptions to Emerging Technology 117
Fieldwork Stories 118
Technology Acceptance 123
Summary 125
Chapter 6: Digital Inequities and Society 127
Introduction 127
Digital Divide and Digital Poverty in the Twenty-first Century 127
Digital Exclusion Across the UK 133
Household Income and Regions 133
Digital Skills, Internet Access and Purpose 135
(Digital) Exclusion, Inequities, Community Involvement and the Pandemic 137
Case study #1 – Digital Inclusion and Exclusion Across UK Nations 138
Case study #2 – Ageing Without Children (AWOC) in the Twenty-first Century 140
Case study #3 – Looking Back Through the Lens of the Digital Divide on Historical Events 142
Case study #4 – From Military Personnel to Civilian, Impact(s) of Leaving the Armed Forces 150
Summary 154
Chapter 7: The Research Environment 157
Introduction 157
Interdisciplinary Research (IDR) 157
Barriers and Enablers to Conducting IDR 159
Research Experiences 159
Examples of Research Projects and Approaches 161
Case 1 – Conducting Sensitive Research (Topics) 161
Case 2 – Conducting International Research 164
Case 3 – Conducting Co-Production Research 165
Case 4 – Conducting Intergenerational and ‘in the wild’ Research 166
Age NI Stakeholder 167
Target Audiences and Co-Researchers 168
Challenges and Benefits to Co-Production 169
Social Enterprises 170
Industry 170
Summary 171
Chapter 8: Not a Conclusion – But a Manifesto! 173
Chapter 2 – The Current State of Technology and Digital Games 174
Chapter 3 – Adoption, Benefits and Challenges of Technology: Insights from Citizens in Northern Ireland 174
Chapter 4 – Technology in the Role of Stakeholders, Social Enterprise, Industry and Smart Age-friendly Ecosystems in the 21st Century 174
Chapter 5 – “the older you get, people get less active, and then they feel the cold” 176
Chapter 6 – Digital Inequities and Society 176
Chapter 7 – The Research Environment 176
Chapter 8 – Not a Conclusion – But a Manifesto! 176
Chapter 9 – The Journey: Author Biographies and Trajectories 176
Chapter 9: The Journey: Author Biographies and Trajectories 177
Hannah R. Marston 177
Questions and Answers 178
What Inspired You to Work in the Field(s) of Your Choice? 178
What Impact has the Pandemic had on You? 179
Name 1–3 Things that You Enjoy about the Work that You Do? 180
Share a Vision You have to the Future? 181
Linda Shore 182
Questions and Answers 183
What Inspired You to Work in the Field(s) of Your Choice? 183
What Impact has the Pandemic had on You? 183
Name 1–3 Things that You Enjoy about the Work that You Do? 184
Share a Vision You have to the Future? 184
Laura Stoops 184
Questions and Answers 185
What Inspired You to Work in the Field(s) of Your Choice? 185
What Impact has the Pandemic had on You? 186
Name 1–3 Things that You Enjoy about the Work that You Do? 187
Share a Vision You have to the Future? 188
Robbie S. Turner 189
Questions and Answers 192
What Inspired You to Work in the Field(s) of Your Choice? 192
What Impact has the Pandemic had on You? 192
Name 1–3 Things that You Enjoy about the Work that You Do? 193
Share a Vision you have to the Future? 193
Reference 195
Index 231

List of Figures and Tables


Fig. 1.1 Overview of Running Metrics, Tracking and Analysis 4
Fig. 2.1 Media Use Across the Nations of the UK 14
Fig. 2.2a and 2.2b COVID-19 App for England and Wales 17
Fig. 2.2c and 2.2d COVID-19 App for Scotland and Northern Ireland 18
Fig. 2.3 Video Game Statistics Published Between 2004 and 2020 22
Fig. 2.4 Motivations for Game Playing by Ethnicity 24
Fig. 2.5 Frequency and Time for Game Playing by Ethnicity 25
Fig. 2.6 Game Genres Played by Ethnicity 25
Fig. 2.7 Motivations for Game Playing by Gender 26
Fig. 2.8 Preferred Game Genres and Devices Played by Gender 26
Fig. 2.9 Frequency and Time for Game Playing by Gender 27
Fig. 2.10 Diabetes Tattoo from the DermalAbyss Project. 36
Fig. 3.1 Concept Mapping from Workshops 51
Fig. 4.1 Eight Domains of the Age-friendly City set out by the WHO 83
Fig. 4.2 The Age-friendly Ecosystem: a Synthesis of Age-friendly Programmes 84
Fig. 4.3 The Smart Age-friendly Ecosystem (SAfE) Framework 85
Fig. 4.4 The Concept of Age-friendly Smart Ecologies (CASE) Framework 86
Fig. 4.5 Pedestrian Crossing in Dubai, Displaying red Traffic Lights, and Sensors Marking out the Pedestrian Crossing 87
Fig. 4.6 Pedestrian Crossing in Dubai, Displaying Green Traffic Lights, and Sensors Marking out the Pedestrian Crossing 87
Fig. 4.7a & 4.7b Accessibility Ramp in a Barcelona Tube Station 88
Fig. 4.8 Specific Route(s) for Commuters/users in a Barcelona Tube Station 89
Fig. 4.9 Pavement and Road Markings and Textures in the El Poblenau District of Barcelona 90
Fig. 4.10 Electric Moped in the El Poblenau District of Barcelona 90
Fig. 4.11a and 4.11b Overview of the YEGO Journeys, Costs, and Location(s) of Moped Throughout the District of el Poblenou 91
Fig. 4.12a Construction Work on the High Street of Stony Stratford to Enable the Extension of the Pavement to Facilitate Appropriate 2-metre Distancing Outside 96
Fig. 4.13a/b Shop Signage in Stony Stratford 96
Fig. 4.14 DIY 2-metre Distance Inside a Grocery Store at the Counter 97
Fig. 4.15 Homemade Signage at a Farmer’s Market Stall 97
Fig. 4.16 Homemade Visuals in Windows 98
Fig. 4.17 Displays a Teddy Bear Which was Part of a Trail for the Residents of Stony Stratford 98
Fig. 4.18 How Customers can Order and Collect Alcohol at a Counter in a Pub 99
Fig. 4.19 How the ‘Old Grocer’s’ Maintained 2-metre Distance Between Tables on a Bench 99
Fig. 4.20 Notice Located on all Tables in the ‘Old Grocer’s’ as a Gentle Reminder to all Customers to Maintain 2-metre Distance 100
Fig. 4.21 NNotice Located on all Tables and in the Toilet Space of the ‘Old Grocer’s’ as a Gentle Reminder to All Customers to Adhere to Respective Guidance 100
Fig. 4.22 Group Zoom call During the Pandemic of Friends and Family 101
Fig. 4.23a/b Friends Sharing Pictures of Food via the Messenger Platform During the Pandemic 102
Fig. 4.24 Friends Sharing a Recipe via the Messenger Platform 102
Fig. 5.1 Direct Reference from Journaling and Memo Writing Regarding the Category ‘Feelings’ 118
Fig. 5.2 Examples of Affinity Diagramming to Define Themes 119
Fig. 5.3 Relating the Research Fieldwork Questions as Part of Affinity Diagramming Focus and Theme Definition 120
Fig. 5.4 Overview of Research Activity Relying on a Constructivist Grounded Theory Approach 121
Fig. 6.1 The Gap Between the Proportion of Internet Users Over the age of 65 Years and Younger Age Groups is Narrowing for Both Men and Women 130
Fig. 6.2 Increasing Proportion of Internet Non-users Over the Age of 65 Years. 131
Fig. 6.3 Ethnicity Gap in Internet Usage has Narrowed Over Time as the Proportion of Internet Non-users has Declined 131
Fig. 6.4 Disability and Internet Usage 132
Fig. 6.5 The Percentage of Households with an Internet Connection Increases with Income 134
Fig. 6.6 Regional Variation in the Proportion of the Population with the Five Basic Digital Skills 134
Fig. 6.7 Regional Variation of the Proportion who do not Have Any Basic Digital Skills 135
Fig. 6.8 Percentage of Households by Reason for not Having Household Internet Access 136
Fig. 6.9 Percentage of Households by Disability for not Having Household Internet Access 137
Fig. 6.10 Displays Adult Children are the Most Common Providers of Informal Care for Those at the Oldest Ages. Percentage of Older People Receiving Informal Care by Age Group and Information Care Provider, England, 2018 141
Fig. 8.1 Transgenerational Technology (TT) call a action - Manifesto! 175
Fig. 9.1 Dr Hannah R. Marston 178
Fig. 9.2 Dr Linda Shore 182
Fig. 9.3 Dr Laura Stoops 184
Fig. 9.4 Mr Robbie S. Turner 190


Table 2.1 Activities Conducted Online 2020 15
Table 2.2 Generation Cohorts 20
Table 3.1 Participant Characteristics 40
Table 3.2 Leisure Activities and Roles Since COVID-19, as Reported by Survey Respondents 41
Table 3.3 Internet Characteristics 43
Table 3.4 Digital Device Characteristics 45
Table 3.5 Learning and Motivation Characteristics 47
Table 3.6 Technology Usability 48
Table 3.7 Inequalities and Technology 49
Table 3.8 Sharing Information Via Technology – Characteristics 49
Table 4.1 Matrix Displaying Five Application Domains and Four Types of Technology Impact 79
Table 6.1 ‘Have you used the Internet in the last 3 months?’ Across the UK Regions Between 2020 and 2021 (Lloyds Bank 2021 Consumer Digital Index) 133
Table 7.1 Barriers and Facilitators to Interdisciplinary Research in the Context of the UK (HEFCE & UKRI, 2016) 159

List of Abbreviations

AARP American Association of Retired Persons
ADL Activities of Daily Living
AFCC Age-friendly Cities and Communities
AI Artificial intelligence
AR Augmented reality
ARPA Advanced Research Projects Agency
AT Assistive technology
ATAT Adapt Tech, Accessible Technology
AWOC Ageing without children
BA British Academy
BBC British Broadcasting Corporation
BMBC Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
BME Black, Minority Ethnic
CASE Concept of Age-friendly Smart Ecologies
CCT Controlled clinical trials
CDC Center for Disease Control
CF Consultative Forum
CV Curriculum vitae
DCW Digital Communities Wales
DD Digital divide
DDR Deutsche Demokratische Republik
DIAW Digital Inclusion Alliance for Wales
DIY Do it yourself
DNR Do not resuscitate
DSHS German Sport University Cologne
ECR Early career research
ERDF European Regional Development Fund
ESA Entertainment Software Association
EU European Union
GCSEs General certification of Secondary Education
Geron Gerontology
GEVH Grimethorpe Electronic Village Hall
GP General Practitioner
GT Gerontechnology
H&W SRA Health and Wellbeing Strategic Research Area
HCI Human Computer Interaction
HEFCE Higher Education Funding Council
HEI Higher Education Institute
HGV Heavy Goods Vehicle
ICT Information Communication Technology
IDR Interdisciplinary research
IoTs Internet of Things
ISG International Society of Gerontechnology
IUD Intrauterine Device
IVF in vitro fertilization
KESS Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series
LGBTQ+ Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer
LLTCs life-limiting/threatening health conditions
LTC Long-term care
mHealth apps Mobile health applications
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MoD Ministry of Defence
MR Mixed reality
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NCB National Coal Board
NFP Not-for-profit
NHS National Health Service
NI Northern Ireland
NIA Northern Irish Assemble
NPL National Physical Laboratory
NUM National Union of Mineworkers
NVQ National vocational qualification
ONS Office for National Statistics
PAHO Pan American Health Organization
PC Personal computing
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
PHE Public Health England
PHW Public Health Wales
PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder
QoL Quality of Life
R&D Research and Development
RCT Randomized control trials
RCUK Research Councils UK
RDD&D Research, development, design and distribution
RDG Research development groups
SAfE Smart Age-friendly Ecosystem
SD Standard deviation
SES Socio-economic status
SSAFA Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association
TAM Technology Acceptance Model
TART Transgenerational Assistive Robotic Technology
TAT Transgenerational Assistive/Accessible Technology
TG Transgenerational Gaming
TILL Technology In Later Life
TLCC Transgenerational Living Communities and Cities
TT Transgenerational Technology
UCD User Centred Design
UK United Kingdom
UKRI UK Research and Innovation
UML Unified Modelling Language
UN United Nations
USA United States of America
UX User Experience
VAs Virtual assistants
VR Virtual reality
WDH Wakefield District Housing
WG Working group
WHO World Health Organization
WI Women’s Institute
XR Extended reality

About the Authors

Hannah R. Marston conducts interdisciplinary research and holds a PhD from Teesside University, UK in Virtual Reality and Gerontology. Since 2010 she has worked in Canada and Germany as a researcher, prior to moving back to the UK in 2015. She has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal papers, and most recently she was part of the ‘The Smart Homes and Independent Living Commission’. Her research areas include gerontechnology, UX (User eXperience) of transgenerational technologies and videogames, gender, age-friendly cities, and communities and in 2020 she led an international, multi-site COVID-19 research project focusing on technology use.

Linda Shore is a UX Designer/Researcher and currently works as part of the DHI (Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre) at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. Her research areas include User-Centred Design (UCD) approaches that explore perceptions and adoption of emerging wearable technologies by older adults and the impact of amputation/age-related conditions on quality of life. Additional areas of research interest include service blueprint development for healthcare and transgenerational technology that adapts to users’ needs. She is excited about the possibilities of technologies for the future and how these can enhance the worlds, lives, and experiences as we age.

Laura Stoops is the Impact and Evaluation Manager at Age NI, a charity that supports older people in Northern Ireland to love later life. Her professional interests are using technology-based solutions to support older people or those with a disability and assessing the impact and evaluation. She has a keen interest in using research skills to support the voluntary sector and to share this knowledge widely. She holds a PhD (2011) in Computer-Based Assessment and Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. As part of her PhD work, she has written and published five journal papers including a paper entitled Assessment of Bradykinesia, Akinesia and Rigidity Using a Home-Based Assessment Tool which was published in the International Journal of Assistive Robotics and Systems (2009).

Robbie S. Turner is a Co-founder and Senior Consultant at Spektrum-Group, a company that supports potential suppliers in penetrating government, defence, and humanitarian markets by lending them over 20 years of experience in this field. He is regarded and foremost an expert in this specialist market, and thoroughly enjoys the process of knowledge exchange and translation, knowledge that directly impacts and enhances a company’s ability to participate and succeed in a perceivably exclusive environment.


Listening to the views of older people and giving them a voice is central to Age NI’s work. Through this book, we were delighted to have the opportunity to work in consultation with older people to better understand their digital technology needs, now and in the future.

Age NI has witnessed first-hand the impact that the pandemic, and its resulting social isolation, has had on older people in Northern Ireland. It has also dramatically affected the way we deliver our services, which are so heavily focused on social, face-to-face interaction.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all realise the power of technology. Thinking about all generations, from home-schooling through to zoom quizzes, we might wonder how we would have coped without it. For older people, with the help of digital devices, many were able to connect to friends and family – and to our services, newly delivered online.

For some, this involved adopting a new mindset, and often required offering one-to-one support to utilise the technology. For those who succeeded, the benefits of this new connectivity greatly outweighed the challenges.

However, while many have gained from digital technology, we know that there is a large section of older people missing out. Without their normal social interactions, a lack of digital connectivity has left them desperately isolated and lonely. Very sadly, we know that loneliness can be a killer, and as a nation renowned for its warm welcome, friendliness and sense of community, we believe it shouldn’t have to be this way.

Although the number of older people who are digitally connected continues to rise, across the UK there are still around 5 million people over the age of 55 who are not online. And while factors such as income and levels of education play a part, age is still the biggest indicator of digital exclusion.

Through our work on this book, hearing the experiences of those older people who are embracing technology has thrown into stark relief the experiences of those who are still missing out.

Through research and innovation, we’re looking at ways of supporting older people to get online, to benefit from digital communication and to do confidently and safely.

We are very grateful to the older people who have given so generously of their views and time to inform the content and narrative of this book.

The insight of this publication offers on what older people want and need, is pivotal to the current and future connectivity of older people. We believe this has a vital part to play in the mission to end loneliness.

Linda Robinson BEM Age NI CEO


We would like to express our thanks to the participants recruited through Age NI and Mencap NI for giving up their time to speak to and share their experiences and thoughts with us about their use of and responses to technology during the pandemic and for providing their future perspectives. We really appreciate the insight and guidance offered by the Age NI working group, made up of Age NI Consultative Forum members. A further thank you to Ann Murray for taking the time to review and edit the draft manuscript, your insights and comments helped make the book what it is.

Also, we would like to thank everyone who has provided critical and constructive feedback across the all the chapters throughout process. Without this depth, and insightfulness, we would not have been able to ensure the quality, discourse and narrative throughout.