Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Comunicar
Title Uses and Gratifications of Computers in South African Elderly People
Volume 23
Issue 45
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 9-18
URL http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/158/15839609001.pdf
Drawing on in-depth interviews conducted with residents at an old-aged home in Cape Town, South Africa, this study examines
the main uses and gratifications elderly people get from computers. While the research focus in Africa has been on the health of
elderly people, particularly with respect to HIV/AIDS, there is little research into their adoption of new technologies, as the research
focus with respect to that topic has been primarily on youth. This study found that the participants use email and social media
to maintain contact with family and friends outside of, and sometimes even within the neighborhood. Furthermore, keeping in
contact involved not only communication, but also observation of activities – like news, photographs and discussions. Using a uses
and gratifications framework, this study found that participants felt connected with society both through their communication with
and observation of people, and through keeping themselves informed about news and current interest topics. By using the Internet
the elderly people communicated with more people than they had before. Some of the participants felt less isolated and lonely
because of their computer use. Nevertheless, use of computers did not weaken their interpersonal contact outside of computer

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