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Abstract

It is a plain chronological fact that personal digital technologies – such as the mobile phone, computers and the internet and digital television services – have arrived late in the lives of many older people. The ‘problem’ here – if it is to be perceived as such – is that this late arrival may present some older people with a particular set of challenges which may not necessarily apply to other, younger, people; and while it is important to acknowledge older people must never be considered an homogenous cohort when it comes to experiences of ageing, considerations such as late-life physiological changes are nevertheless important, especially if at the junction with digital device interactivity demands on the senses may prove significant and may be unforgiving. But there may also be other, less visible but equally important, factors at play which may set older people apart from any prevailing societal ‘flows’ in this regard – factors such as general and specific attitudinal stances of older people themselves towards technologies, especially if informed by

personal technology experiences developed over comparatively long life-spans.

Using literature review and early-stage data I consider the view that some older people may respond contrarily to digital worlds in ways that may be more active – even benignly so – rather than necessarily resignedly passive. Such a proposition does not, of course, preclude consideration of what may be the consequences of more pointed digital ‘exclusions’ – such as deficits in digital and media literacy skills; rather the ambition here is to discern what may drive any attitudes, behaviours or indeed so-called ‘life-stage’ decisions which some older people may deploy and which may simply place them not necessarily determinedly against technology’s ‘flow’, but rather, perhaps, ‘declining’ its ‘grasp’.

DOI

0.21427/D7QQ80

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