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'I want to keep up with the younger generation' - older adults and the web: a generational divide or generational collide?

Costa, Cristina and Gilliland, Gemma and McWatt, Jennifer (2019) ''I want to keep up with the younger generation' - older adults and the web: a generational divide or generational collide?', International journal of lifelong education., 38 (5). pp. 566-578.


This paper considers the social significance of digital technologies in older adults’ lives by exploring the impact the web has on their lived experiences. The study of digital literacies and digital cultures is mostly focused on youth, thus paying limited attention to older adults’ engagement with the web. With this paper, we aim to contribute to under-theorised debates of older adults’ digital experiences beyond generalisations of generational and/or digital divides. Focus groups interviews with older adults enrolled in sessions on digital literacies were used to get insight into this cohort’s online experiences. The findings revealed that older adults’ key motivation to become digitally literate was driven by a desire of remaining relevant in a contemporary world, in other words, of cultivating their identity as active citizens in a digital society. We offer considerations and reflections on the findings through the application of the works of Karl Mannheim to the phenomenon investigated.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International journal of lifelong education on 23 October 2019, available online:
Date accepted:29 September 2019
Date deposited:24 October 2019
Date of first online publication:23 October 2019
Date first made open access:23 April 2021

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