The Digital Literacy of Older Citizens (2005)

"The profound impact that the new Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT) are having on society has led, in recent years, their
growth and potential to become objects of study in all fields of specializa-
tion in the Social Sciences. One of the latest developments has been that
both researchers and public administrators are beginning to focus atten-
tion not only on the already existing social needs that the ICT are satisfy-
ing, but also on the new needs that these technologies themselves gener-
ate. One that is especially evident is that of technological and digital liter-
acy in sectors in which the impact is most immediate. Access to the ad-
vantages in terms of quality of life offered by ICT has become, since the
mid-1990s, a major determinant of social exclusion or integration in the
framework of the new Telematic Society.
 A second element that conforms the present work is old age. While
this is an increasingly ambiguous sociological category, for most of the
population it means a time of increasing dependence that the ICT are
already helping to palliate, and doubtless will do so far more in the future
– a future that, for the present in the West, is marked by an increasing
number of old age people in relation to the rest of society.
 The third element corresponds to the policies put into effect by public
administrations to confront the challenges deriving from the irruption of
ICT into society, and most especially from their impact on groups of the
population, such as the elderly, that are at risk of falling into a situation of
digital exclusion. Those public initiatives in the form of programs of tech-
nological and digital literacy for everyone in general, and for the elderly
in particular, have come from regional administrations. In Spain it has
been the regional governments which, faced with the do-nothing policies
of the central government, have taken on the responsibility of providing
access to the new telematic tools, taking advantage of European Commu-
nity funds available to this end. This has in particular been the case in the
Autonomous Community of Extremadura, the region we analyse.
 The scope of the present article is to describe the policies in Spain that
are related to providing access, training, and qualification of the elderly in
the use of ICT. Also, an analysis is given of public and private technologi-
cal literacy initiatives in the Autonomous Region of Extremadura aimed
at enabling the elderly in the use of these new tools, and at their active
and full integration into the Telematic Society. Particular attention will be
paid to analyzing the benefits acquired in this qualification process for
this social group.
 Due to the approximate character of this research, and project pilot, its
conclusions, even if they are based on a relatively small sample, must
without question serve as the bases for a more detailed study". 

Baigorri, A; Chaves, M. (2005). The Digital Literacy of Older Citizens in Extremadura (Spain).  En Young  Technologies  in  Old  Hands. An  International  View  on  Senior Citizen's Utilization of ICT. pp.137-158. Birgit Jæger (ed.). DJØF Publishing.  

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