Digital participation in service environments among senior electricity consumers in Finland
Kuoppamäki, S.-M. (2018). Digital participation in service environments among senior electricity consumers in Finland. Technology in Society, 55, 111-118. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techsoc.2018.07.003
Published inTechnology in Society
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd.
Research to date suggests that older adults engage with digital technologies less frequently than young adults. Studies typically focus on chronological age, ignoring the effects of life course factors on the adoption and use of digital technologies. By utilising multiple triangulation, the article investigates the role of age and life course stage in the usage of an electricity company's online services among senior consumers. The data are derived from an internet-based survey study (N = 1366) and six focus group discussions involving Finnish electricity consumers (N = 29). The results suggest that online consumers aged 50 and over utilise electricity company online services more frequently than younger consumers. Seniors report lack of knowledge regarding online environments less frequently than young adults. On the bodily level, senior consumers mention physical discomfort as a challenge and maintaining a physically active lifestyle as a driving force for digital participation. On the mental level, seniors report environmentally conscious attitudes and altruistic values as a challenge and social connectedness as a motivation to digital participation. On the biographical level, a decline in social networks challenges digital participation but simultaneously provides new opportunities for strengthening existing networks. In conclusion, the article suggests that life course factors (e.g. multidimensionality of age and other socio-demographic variables, such as occupation and income level) may better explain use of electricity company online services among seniors than chronological age. ...
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