Yaşlı Bireyler Arasında Dijital Eşitsizlikler: Ankara Mikro Örneği
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Today, access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are not privileges but necessities for social inclusion. However, digital inequalities are still prevalent among individuals and groups. Digital inequality is a multifaceted phenomenon referring to the differences in access to and motivation to use of ICTs (first level), differences in online activities and digital skills (second level), and differences in the benefits obtained from the digital sphere (third level). Being already prone to social inequalities, elderly are particularly affected negatively by digital inequalities which in turn, reproduces their disadvantaged position. This master’s thesis approaches old age as a heterogeneous experience that is strongly connected to individuals' life course dynamics. The researcher aimed to understand the nature of digital inequalities among the elderly at all three levels and their relationship to traditional inequalities by interpreting the ICT practices of the elderly. The research approaches old age as another period of life course and links it to the previous experiences of individuals drawing from the life-course approach. Additionally, to understand the digital inequalities in old age, the researcher uses the cumulative inequality theory. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with 25 elderly individuals. The findings show that digital inequalities in old age reflect the (dis)advantages that accumulated throughout individuals’ life courses. Education and previous work experience seem to be important differentiators in the elderly’s motivation to use ICTs, online activities as well as digital skills. Additionally, during the interviews, it is observed that individuals abstained from learning and using ICTs due to feeling “too old” due to ageist stereotypes. The elderly people seem to feel suspicion and fear toward the digital sphere. As a result of lack of digital skills, feeling too old, and the fear of technology, they often seek help in using and learning ICTs from social support networks. This, in turn, creates a vicious cycle that reproduces their negative attitudes towards technologies and prevents them from developing their digital skills.