Browsing by Author "Laiho, Maija Sirkka"

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  • Laiho, Maija Sirkka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The aged people in the target group of my study belong to generation, which has experienced the shift from agricultural society via industrial society up to the society which has been described as information society. They have grown up concurrently with the technological development, but during the recent years the technological development has accelerated. One can say that the older the target study group has come the more information technological skills they need to possess to be equal actors in our society. However, especially in case of aged people the learning and maintaining of skills in information technology has mainly been left dependent on their personal motivation. The purpose of this report is to study the use of computers in the life of the aged people. The report studies the will and ability of the aged people to learn the skill of using computers, and the new possibilities which this brings into their lives. The study questions are the following: 1) Why the aged people start to use computers? 2) How the aged people benefit information technology in their own life? 3) How computers have extended the environment of the aged people? 4) What kind of problems the aged people have experienced in use of computers? The research material consists of group interviews and individual interviews (total of 23 people). The interview material has been collected among the participants on information technology courses of the Senior University of Helsinki University during years 2004-2005. The research method used is theme interviewing. In addition, the material of opinions about information technology of people born in decades of 1920 and 1930, gathered as part of the Ikihyvä Päijät-Häme 2002 -research has been used. On basis of this research one can say that the aged people do have motivation to study the use of computers, although many interviewees commented that they also have met problems in use of computers. The motivation has grown also because the fear that without the skills to use computers they could drift into outsiders of the society, whereas instead as skilled computer users they felt to be equal citizens compared with the younger age groups, and that they can maintain their independence and autonomy. Especially, the independent use of banking routines over the Internet and use of emails seem to give them a position as modern actors. Many interview statements also underline that computers will bring both joy and benefit to the users. Studying the use of computers is a new and interesting hobby, which can fill the hole left in the life after leaving the working life. Using skills of text processing and processing of pictures one can, for example, record the traditional knowledge of the family and ancestry to the younger generations, and write articles or even books on the professional area of ones own. Single people emphasize that computers can even act as companionship substitutes. One can use Internet for virtual traveling, which provides a new dimension in use of computers. Internet can also be used to maintain family relationships, especially between grandparents and remote grandchildren. Typical problems in use of computers appeared to be that reaching the right professional helpdesk advisers of the service providers is difficult and requires lots of time and patience. However, the interviewees were not willing to give up their computers, because they had already used to these. Keywords: digital divide, aging, Internet, usability, motivation, information technology, information society.