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Title: Beyond WhatsApp: Older people and smartphones
Author: Rosales Climent, Andrea  
Fernández Ardèvol, Mireia
Others: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
Keywords: smartphones
use patterns
focus groups
log data
Issue Date: Apr-2016
Publisher: Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations
Citation: Rosales Climent, A. & Fernández-Ardèvol, M. (2016). Beyond WhatsApp: Older people and smartphones. Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations, 18(1), 27-47. doi: 10.21018/rjcpr.2016.1.200
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Abstract: This paper analyzes how older people, living in Spain, use smartphones and smartphone applications.Using a mixed methods approach, we compare quantitative results obtained by tracking mobile app usageamongst different generational samples with qualitative, focus-group discussions with active smartphoneusers. A sample of Spanish smartphone users were tracked during one month in the winter of 2014 (238 in-dividuals, aged 20 to 76 years-old). This was followed by three focus group sessions conducted in the springof 2015, with 24 individuals aged 55 to 81. As we learned, WhatsApp is currently the most popular applica-tion used by people of all ages, including older adults. Smartphones increasingly are playing a central rolein the life of older participants, although the frequency of app access is negatively correlated with age. Onthe other hand, as our data indicates, older adults also use a number of different types of apps that are dis-tinct from that of younger users. Older participants access personal information manager apps (calendar, ad-dress book and notes) more often than other age groups. And comparatively, older participants use thesmartphone less often in stable locations (home, office, relatives' home) with Wifi than somewhere else andwith mobile data. As we argue, differences in age seem to reflect the evolution in personal interests and com-munication patterns that change as we grow older. Our study captures new trends in smartphone usageamongst this cohort. It also indicates how a combination of methods may help to assess the validity of thelog and qualitative data. We highlight the relevance of conducting careful generational studies in smartphoneuse and some of the potentials and limitations of making predictive studies of ICT use as we change through-out the life course. Finally, we assert the value of the inclusion of older representatives within research, whichultimately may influence public decisions and the design of new technologies.
Language: English
ISSN: 1454-8100MIAR
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