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Teaching older people internet skills to minimize grey digital divides: Developed and developing countries in focus

Farooq Mubarak (Department of Information Systems Science, Turku School of Economics, University of Turku , Turku, Finland)
Michael Nycyk (Department of Internet Studies, Curtin University , Perth, Australia)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore how older people in developed and developing countries are affected by the grey digital divide. It argues country type and culture influence older people’s willingness to access and learn internet skills. Using the knowledge from researchers informs policy, funding and delivery of appropriate skilling to minimize this divide.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic literature search using specific keywords to locate digital divide research, specifically pertaining to older people across country types.

Findings

Despite increased internet access and affordability, older people still face challenges in learning internet skills. Country type, economic challenges and cultural beliefs need to be considered in minimizing the grey divide. Governments recognize the importance of funding such teaching but evidence-based research must continue to inform policy to maximize funding and solve the many physical age and cultural issues affecting older people’s access to internet skills learning.

Originality/value

This paper argues that research in developing countries into minimizing the grey digital divide is a crucial undertaking. As the internet continues growing in developing countries, finding solutions that consider cultural and age differences issues is crucial to the success of having internet literate societies that have growing populations of older people seeking to use it.

Keywords

Citation

Mubarak, F. and Nycyk, M. (2017), "Teaching older people internet skills to minimize grey digital divides: Developed and developing countries in focus", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 165-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-06-2016-0022

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited