Medien, Netz und Öffentlichkeit: Impulse für die digitale Gesellschaft (German Edition)

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Articles

  1. Filterblasen und Faktendämmerung - Digitaler Diskurs - Portofrei: Goethe-Institut
  2. About this publication
  3. Vielfalt im Internet [Diversity on the Internet]
  4. Information
  5. Medien, Netz und Öffentlichkeit

The results of our own study the housing study of elderly 65 plus dwellers had a too small database of Internet users, which made further statistical analysis impossible. We rather refer to bits and pieces of studies on the elderly and the Internet. Our own research on specific technologists and Internet user groups Paul, ; Konrad and Paul, ; Stegbauer, and current research with elderly employees and dwellers of a housing company provides a background for some of our assumptions. Regarding the high vs.

We conclude that the technological generation concept employed here has two consequences: a as elderly people have a different social and educational background and different learning attitudes it makes little sense to argue that participation levels will approximate in the log run; and, b peer group support is essential for the informal learning mode.

From 70 on only a very small figure 3. Other studies mention that the elderly use the Internet at home or in specific Internet courses. As only a minority of workers in Germany work after 60 years it would make sense to look more closely at the 60 plus group. However quite a lot of the German statistics count from 65 pension age on which sets pragmatic limits for an adequate age classification.

A differentiation of the 65 plus group, though, could refer to the idea of generations; it could follow the "technological generation" concept. Figure 1: The German population by sex and age grouped. Generations are not only marked by different educational backgrounds. Socialisation in different times creates different learning styles and approaches to technology.

In a traditional sense the term "generation" refers to same experiences of age groups in different historical phases for example the 68 generation. In technology research, the phrase "technological generation" is used e. Each generation grew up with certain technical devices which influenced everyday life significantly. For all generations the phase of childhood and adolescence influenced their technology attitudes and competence significantly.

We suppose that learning new technologies for each generation is dependent upon personal resources and possible migration paths to levels of the next generation. It is well known that young people belong to the most intensive Internet user group. This is well documented Tully, ; JIM, ; see table below. Not too many facts and figures are known about the use of the Internet among the elderly in Germany. Elderly Internet users are still not the average representatives of their age group in several social aspects: they have a purchasing power above the average, they are better educated and they have a strong learning attitude [ 5 ].

There are at least three types of "heavy" Internet users among the population. The first group represents Internet users who perform their online activities nearly exclusively at work, often mixing corporate and private interests. A second group uses the Internet equally at work and home. We might describe these individuals as young professionals, for whom technology use is permanently part of their lifestyle. There is some evidence for a linear decrease of Internet use in all age groups [ 7 ].

We have to keep in mind that the IT sector targets its products to the young and affluent, having in mind a trickle down model from early adopters to the broad public. Product developers do not care very much about the fact that the elderly cannot use tiny mobile telephones very well or that they are unable to decipher icons. A large number of elderly cannot read text on the screen or use a keyboard due to visual impairments or other physical or psychological handicaps.

The same is true for many Internet sites. The personal computer itself is too complex and only the very enthusiastic are willing to care about new upgrades, read incomprehensible instructions and buy specialised magazines offering tips and tricks. As Donald Norman noted:. Elderly retirees and very young Internet users have in common that professional interests play a small role in their motivation to use the Internet.

Searching for information is reported by German senior citizens as the main motivation to use the Internet; they are looking for news online magazines and specific information like product information or travel tips. Four out of ten elderly Internet users use the Internet for learning activities [ 9 ].

Only four percent use the Internet. Many remark that they delegate specific information searches hobbies and travel information to their children. The Internet is seen as interesting and useful but has too little to offer relative to the vital needs of the elderly. Generally it is very important to make a gender difference in the use of information technologies and the Internet.

Medien – warum die 4. Gewalt für die Demokratie so wichtig ist

Based on a survey, six percent of men between 55 and 69 use the computer daily, but only two percent of women [ 10 ]. It is well known that men use the Internet more frequently and for a longer duration than women [ 11 ]. It is well known, be it from research on computer students Neusel and Wetter, ; Zwick and Renn, ; Winkler, , or from youth and pedagogical research, that girls have a more pragmatic attitude towards computers.

Aggressive "shoot them all" computer games are typically used by males. From research on the young we learned that computer use and the Internet fits into different activity patterns, attributing different meanings and values to these activities.

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Filterblasen und Faktendämmerung - Digitaler Diskurs - Portofrei: Goethe-Institut

Bingham, et al. German data on computer usage at school shows only slight differences in usage pattern, but boys use computers more frequently at home 72 percent than girls 56 percent [ 14 ]. Little is known about gender differences among elderly Internet users. We presume that the Internet interest of elderly male users is somehow influenced by their former job experiences. Web site developers assume that the Internet is largely used by young males. The majority of potential elderly users are women. This means that the majority of elderly users do not represent the target audience of young males; as a result many Internet sites do not relate to the needs of elderly women.

Both variables correlate strongly but it is difficult to assess the defining one. This means that their levels of formal education are much lower than that in younger cohorts. Many have the lowest level of secondary education or none at all. Figure 2: Sex and lowest educational level by age. Source: Allbus, , own calculation. Only a minority of the elderly obtained some form of higher education. Tully, for example, identified five different dimensions of technology which have impacted young lifestyle: technology as an enabler of future professional chances; as symbolic capital; as means for fun and action; as an object for social distinction; and, as means to structure daily activities [ 18 ].

Principally the young get in touch with these technologies through trial and error and informal learning processes among peers. Social research about personal relations in our field focuses on two different concepts: 1 similar people, with common values and status attract each other see Lazarsfeld and Merton, ; Wolf, ; and, 2 the opportunity to meet people with different characteristics i. This may explain why different adoption speeds relates to age. These few Internet users lack opportunities to exchange their experiences with others, as in other generations.

For the young, the use of the Internet has individual and collective significance, the latter in the sense of a cultural background for communities, collective styles and values offering the possibilities to distinguish from others. At the same time the use of the Internet allows some to participate in a technology orientated "modern" lifestyle, dominated by gadgets and strong normative rules of what is "in" and what is "out. Even among the young there is a minority which, after a certain period of enthusiasm, withdraw from computers and the Internet.

There are also quite a number of young and elderly with low skill levels who are not at all well trained to read digital information and transform it into a meaningful knowledge. The number of students who are hardly able to read or to understand even simple texts is estimated between 15 and 25 percent in Germany [ 20 ]. As reading and writing are minimal requirements in order to effectively use use search engines, these individuals are excluded.

Pure learning by doing helps, but even if they manage to access digital information they need an intellectual effort to translate it into personal meaningful knowledge. Some research has shown that use patterns are a function of a specific personal integration of a technological object into a given lifestyle. For example, for the elderly persons and especially for women the mobile phone is regarded as a means for feeling safe, whereas for the young unlimited accessibility is highly important [ 21 ].

As for the elderly, it is very likely that most Internet users belong to the group with an "active lifestyle" of the "household revolution" generation. For them the Internet is like a book or an outdoor event: a means to attribute individual significance to a given offer. Accessing the Internet means not only knowing about computer hardware and software. They provide a certain cognitive complexity and flexibility.

About this publication

As the elderly generally have problems with semantic complexity and quick information processing Schwarz, et al. Contrary to the diffusion of other technological innovations Rogers, communication technologies have advantage for latecomers Markus, ; Werle, : ease of use, low cost, a large variety of offers, and more participants.

If age groups are in fact relatively distinct, effects must be broken down for specific generational aspects. We conclude that the social network of the elderly does not provide sufficient support for those who want to become familiar with the Internet. Most sites meet the needs of experienced young male users, whereas the need and interest of elderly women, the majority of the senior potential, are not targeted. Generally, for the elderly the Internet has a different collective significance than in other generations.

Participation in the information society means having the means to buy a computer and to mobilise resources for transaction and learning costs. As mentioned before, it means, too, the application of cognitive competence.

Vielfalt im Internet [Diversity on the Internet]

Our interview experiences with elderly engineers Paul, ; Konrad and Paul, demonstrated that they had little difficulty understanding the use of computers. In a current large study of SOFI institute for Bertelsmann Foundation elderly employees in the German retail sector have expressed concern over learning how to use computers well. They are very ambivalent about their ability to learn.

On the one hand, they think they are shrewd and have the necessary cognitive level; on the other hand they express a certain uncertainty and a distance to the computer world, using generation arguments like "my generation was not brought up with these machines" or "this is something for my kids, not for my generation.

How can they be approached successfully? The answer is through both informal and formal learning. You need a device, a problem and someone who can help you to solve the problem. This is the big advantage of the young generation, who are socialised into this muddling through approach. Older individuals essentially have to unlearn some routines in order to deal with technology.


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However they have considerable latecomer advantages [ 23 ]. On the other hand the complicated emotional situation of both parties can lead to conflicts.

Information

In short, often a professional pedagogical approach might be more appropriate. We frequently heard in interviews with the elderly that wanted to avoid being a stupid absolute beginner; this concern discourages them from giving it a try. When professional instruction is advocated the problem of special support is at a different level.

Reading the literature on the need for the participation of the elderly [ 24 ] we discover between the lines two inadequate approaches. The first is viewing the elderly in a deficient position, needing paternalistic help from the outside to discover online information related to their interests. This approach entails the risk of putting the elderly into a golden cage with special "senior" options; this approach certainly backfires as many of the edlerly do not do not identify with a "geezer" image [ 25 ].

The "you just need a positive attitude" message does not address the worries of the elderly. Formal learning for the elderly takes place in specialised introductory courses of adult education programs, open to anyone. These practical courses meet the needs of their users and are embedded into various support and enabling activities of peers and specialised instructors. The initiators of "silvermedia" wrote:. It becomes more difficult now with budget cuts by various governmental agencies.

As a result specific learning institutions for the elderly lose not only considerable part of their clients but also resources to maintain their technical infrastructure. As the elderly have less social network support than the young, the entrance barrier is higher. Differences in generational experiences, exploratory behaviour and informal learning explain why the elderly have different usage patterns of the Internet from those of the young. Elderly men are more likely to use the Internet than women. The rate of elderly users will gradually grow in Germany [ 31 ] but it will never reach the rates of younger users.

Nevertheless the gap will become smaller over time, because the rate of elderly Internet users is growing. We expect that growth will in turn create more growth. If the Internet becomes more widely diffused among the elderly, there will be more opportunities for mutual support. The use of the Internet by the elderly may not reach the levels noted for younger audiences. This is a result that many popular Internet applications are not aimed at the elderly and their interests [ 32 ]. Concerns for increases in the digital divide between generations must be taken seriously but they still have a normative base taking for granted that everyone has to use the Internet which per se has a positive value.

On the one hand, these barriers can be removed via peers of younger informal or professional supporters. The elderly, especially those with reduced mobility, will be more dependent on simple access modes than younger age groups. We tried to show that knowledge gap and digital divide discourses implicitly foster the myth of a technological driven social development. No doubt, on the individual level, the elderly can profit personally from turning to the Internet. Christian Stegbauer, University of Frankfurt. This division offers the opportunity to examine the first group more thoroughly, which in marketing language are the "best agers" and who are regarded as the core group of the "silver market,".

Of the small group of computer abstinent young people in Germany 17 percent , 84 percent are women; Deutsche Shell, , p. Every second German academic took part in training courses in the last three years, among the group of low qualified it is only every tenth; Datenreport, , p. In Germany any marketing campaign that addresses directly the "seniors" or the "elderly" usually fails because the target audience does not see itself as "seniors" or "elderly"; they always feel much younger.

See for example the list in Erkert and Salomon, , pp. A study holds that the Internet is number one hobby for British pensioners and that around 83 percent of seniors in the U. Allbus, Bingham, G. Valentine, and S. Holloway, Marquet, S. Mathey, A. Jaillet, and E. Nissen editors. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin: Peter Lang, pp.

Blau and J. Schwartz, Crosscutting social circles: Testing a macrostructural theory of intergroup relations. New York: Academic Press. Bundesregierung, Informationsgesellschaft Deutschland. Burkart and W. Pfammatter editor. Cosse, Ausblick Informationsgesellschaft: Impulse setzen, Entwicklungen gestalten.


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Datenreport, Datenreport, Data report. Statistisches Bundesamt Deutschland editor , Wiesbaden. Dolata, Domathob, W.


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  4. Ausmus, and J. Butler, Haddon, and G. Paul, Erkert and J. Salomon editors , Seniorinnen und Senioren in der Wissensgesellschaft Senior citizens in the knowledge society. Bielefeld: Kleine Verlag. Much the same has happened recently. In , Chinese authorities again used fiscal and credit measures to rev up flagging domestic growth.

    Virtually all nations participated in the growth acceleration. But again, rising property Chinese prices and debt burdens raised financial vulnerability well above dangerous thresholds.

    Impulse für die digitale Gesellschaft

    The Chinese authorities, as before, pulled back on the stimulus, and the domestic economy slowed. The IMF has substantially reduced its projection of world trade growth, but even that lower forecast at 4 percent in is overly optimistic. With the Chinese growth slowdown to 6. The tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by the Trump administration and tough talk on further increases heighten the prospect of further trade deceleration. Adding to the global headwinds are rising interest rates as the U.

    Federal Reserve boosts its policy rate and the European Central Bank winds down its bond purchases. Emerging markets are already dealing with the consequences of higher interest rates. In Argentina and Turkey, but also in India, depreciating currencies have increased the burden of repayment of dollar-denominated debts.

    The trivial revision for India, to 7. Slowing trade and rising rates will have their biggest impact on European nations. These nations depend heavily on trade and require the crutch of low interest rates to compensate for their low long-term growth rates. Along with world trade deceleration since the start of the year, industrial production growth has sharply slowed in the large European countries—Germany, France, and Italy.

    Meanwhile, the ECB, constrained by political limits, will be unable to do much to revive growth. Italy could move from a barely sustainable equilibrium to a runaway crisis. The core problem today, as in , is that the world economic growth depends so heavily on policy stimulus and to an alarmingly high degree on the performance of the Chinese economy.

    Medien, Netz und Öffentlichkeit

    Such an outcome would further spook global financial markets. The stresses from the last financial crisis, though well below their peaks, remain elevated. The monetary and fiscal space for responding to new turbulence is limited. Economic Calendar Tax Withholding Calculator. Retirement Planner. Sign Up Log In.

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