Ageing in a Digital World

Wed 30th Sep 2020

Presenters: Dr Gemma Wilson and Mrs Jessica Gates

In this webinar, Dr Gemma Wilson and Jessica Gates will discuss a study recently carried out by researchers at both Northumbria and Swansea Universities. This study explored older adult’s experiences of using technology (including social media) to connect with others, using a mixed methods approach.

This mixed methods study highlighted the importance of using technology to connect with family and friends, especially the use of visual communication tools, such as FaceTime or Skype, which were perceived as allowing meaningful interactions to take place. However, whilst technology was seen as a welcome tool for older adults’ social connection, technology was by no means seen replacement for face-to-face meeting, only as supplementary.

Participants in both phases of this study were regular technology users and exhibited knowledge and experience of a range of devices and applications, yet even these individuals with access to technology, and who regularly used technology, still faced barriers. Gemma and Jessica will explore both the facilitators and barriers older adults face and reflect on the themes that were generated from this study.

Gemma and Jessica will also discuss the implications of this research for older adults during the COVID19 pandemic.

This webinar aims to start the conversation about how important it is to consider why a digital-centred world doesn’t work for everyone, and importantly, what we can do to promote digital inclusivity.


Dr Gemma Wilson is a Health Psychologist, and Research Fellow in Applied Health at Northumbria University, Newcastle and is the principal investigator on this project, which has been funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust. Gemma’s research interests are in ageing, psychosocial wellbeing, digital inclusion, social participation and digital health. Contact Gemma at gemma.wilson@northumbria.ac.uk, or on Twitter via @drgemmawilson.

Jessica Gates has an interest in ageing, digital inclusion, loneliness and social isolation and has worked as a research assistant on this project. Jessica is also a PhD student at Northumbria University researching primary care networks and health policy. Contact Jessica at j.r.gates@northumbria.ac.uk , or on Twitter via @jessravengates.

The research team: Dr Gemma Wilson (Northumbria University), Mrs Jessica Gates (Northumbria University), Dr Santosh Vijaykumar (Northumbria University), and Dr Deborah Morgan (Swansea University).

Links to Podcast:

Soundcloud:                  https://soundcloud.com/user-589740502/ageing-in-a-digital-world

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