Social Capital Divide between the young and the elderly
A social capital divide between elderly and younger people on the Internet is best described as a difference in resources that are created in social networks and relationships between people and that have a certain value or benefit for individuals participating in this network/relationships. Social capital can be created with participating in online networks such as Myspace. Age differences in online networking in Myspace exist. Elderly have fewer friends and mostly from age groups outside their own age compared to teenagers. Older people tend to be more careful and selective when choosing their friends on MySpace and only want to add to their friends list people that they know very well. Older people tend to represent themselves in a more formal and official way compared to teenagers. They tend to use less videos, music and the exchange of comments.
Learning computer skills
Another problem with the elderly can be a lack of computer skills. Despite the advantages of the Internet and advances in electronic communication, utilization of the Internet among older adults is relatively low. Improving computer skills of the elderly can enable them to access health information on the Internet and improve their health knowledge. Courses such as e-health programs can enhance the use of computers for improving knowledge of online health information. Your never to old to learn computer skills. Moreover, experience with technology, and not age, accounts for observed lifelong changes in digital literacy skills. Digital literacy improves with training in all age groups, the adult group improved significantly more than the younger participants.
A digital generational divide is developing
This indicates a gap between digitally literate users and the elderly. This has disadvantages especially for the elderly since new media and co-creation have the potential to increase individuals’ flexibility, expand opportunities for information retrieval and learning, and compensate for functional limitations such as reduced mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive abilities. If you want to read more about how the elderly differ from the young in Internet use please read The Generational Divide in Internet use. Why this is important? These points should be kept in mind when creating a social network for the elderly. If you want to speed up the process of changing the elderly peoples’ use of computers and online communities think about these findings.