Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Smith-Gratto, Karen

Abstract

The increased dependence on technology has created a digital world that can be described as “foreign” to digital immigrants; those who are not familiar with technology. Unfortunately, the main of digital immigrants are members of the older population, often described as elderly and seniors, who have a tendency to shun new technologies. One of the aims of this thesis and purpose of the survey research was to ascertain whether or not popular assumptions as to physical and mental factors that contribute to the lack of use and/or interest in new technologies are warranted and bring to light factors that seniors identify as impeding their use of computers and use of the internet. A population sample of 50 seniors residing in cities and counties surrounding Greensboro, Guilford County, 50 years and older completed a survey that listed statements and activities regarding attitudes, preferences, opinions, experience and/or non-experience of technology. The attitudinal data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and the results coincided with previous studies findings and opened other areas for continued research. One definite determination is made that although the majority of survey participants have a desire to learn technology and feel that they are physically and mentally capable of learning and using new technologies, such as a computer or the internet; that desire to learn, gathered from the respondents‟ attitudinal responses, suggest that a main factor impending use is lack of self-confidence to go through with that desire.

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