On older people, Internet access and electronic service delivery. A study of sheltered homes
Sourbati, M. (2008) On older people, Internet access and electronic service delivery. A study of sheltered homes In: Mante-Meijer, E, Loos, E and Haddon , L, eds. The Social Dynamics of Information and Communication Technology. Ashgate, pp. 95-104. ISBN ISBN: 978 0 7546 7082 7
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Access to digital, interactive ICTs has emerged as a means to implement changes in social welfare provision, which are currently promoted across Europe as part of e-government initiatives. Access to digital, interactive media is essential to achieve access to e-public service information and welfare support. This chapter questions technology-centred claims and dominant generalisations in public policy debates about older (non-) users of ICTs, who are major users of public services. It draws on a qualitative study of dynamics of media use among vulnerable older people living in sheltered homes in London, and the attitudes of tenants and care workers towards the internet and the electronic provision of health care information and support. The findings of the study question blanket labels of older people as uninterested and unable to learn to use ICTs due to barriers relating to their chronological age. This chapter argues that the defining and positioning of older people as uninterested and/or unable can misdirect policy attention and provision. The overall message of the reported study highlights a need to abandon the technology-centric focus in policy development and take a broader, interdisciplinary perspective on the diversity of users, their social material and cultural circumstances their needs and wishes, and their everyday practices of media (and) services use.
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