Digital inequalities and social exclusion for senior citizens in Romania – digitalization challenges
Keywords:digital inequalities, social exclusion, digitalization challenges, digital inequity
Romania is becoming a rapidly ageing society. Supporting seniors thus becomes a significant challenge, and promoting digital technologies is an effective way of handling the matter. Decreased digitization for seniors needs to be interpreted as part of multiple digital inequities. Besides the already obvious generation gap (age being one of the driving factors for digitization), there are also other significantly impacting factors, i.e., poor education and / or income levels, somewhat characteristic to the state of seniors and also strongly correlated to their lesser adoption of newly emerging technologies. The present paper investigates the current usage of Internet amongst senior Romanians and the main underlying factors involved in lesser usage of digital technologies. The study investigates the underlying causes and factors explaining the decreased digitization of services in seniors aged 65 years or more, using data available and known from Romanian societal studies. An overall n=582 subjects aged ≥65 years were randomly selected in the Bucharest-Ilfov counties and answered questionnaires between May 1st – July 31st of 2022. The questionnaires were collected for the purposes of descriptive statistics and for analyzing factors involved. Amongst the respondents, n=258 (44.3%) did use the Internet and filled in all questionnaire items. About half (53.9%) stated they spend online less than 2 hours daily and more than two thirds (75.2%) went online 5-7 days a week. Online chatting was their main preferred activity (74.2%), followed by social media activities (68.2%), reading online news (45%) and searching information online (39.5%). We concluded more measures are required to reduce barriers to internet proficiency and to promote digital technologies. Public authorities, digital equipment manufacturers and seniors’ families and carers should join forces to create the premises for seniors to take better advantage of online technologies.
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