Mobile telephony is the most widespread information and communication technology (ITC) and follows the same trend that other ICT: those who show typically slower rates of adoption are older individuals. It is relevant, therefore, to explore the motivations and reasons for non-adopting and adopting mobile telephony among seniors.
For doing this, I focus on two cities: Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) and Los Angeles (CA, USA). In Catalonia, up to 95% of the average population are mobile users, while among seniors the figure drops to82% (age 65-74; Idescat, 2011). In the USA, the percentage of mobile users is85% for the average population and 68% for seniors between 66 and 74 (Zickuhr,2011). In a context of such a widespread of the technology, those who opt out often need to justify their decision because they face social pressures for being reachable
in the same way others are by mobile phones.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted in2010 and 2011 on both mobile users and non-users. Within this non-probabilistic sample, a majority of individuals were mobile users, with 11 individuals out of73 being non users the moment of the interview.
Among non-users, some had never got a cell phone while others gave it up at a certain point. The goal of this analysis is not to put forward recommendations for increasing mobile subscription among older people, but to understand personal choices regarding this specific technology. I approach this analysis by taking into account that, nowadays, not having a cell phone in the two studied cities might mean taking a firm stance on the issue.
Idescat (2011): ICT equipment and use in homes 2011. Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat). http://www.idescat.cat/pub/?id=ticll11&lang=en (05/05/2012).
Zickuhr, K. (2011): Generations and their gadgets 2011, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Generations-and-gadgets.aspx (02/04/2012).
Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol with Lidia Arroyo Prieto and Daniel Blanche Tarragó