The over 50s and their motivations for using technology

Despite the growing body of research into older adults‟ use of technology and the Internet, little is known about their motivations for taking up these products and services. The overall image that emerges from the literature is negative: low self-efficacy beliefs, computer anxiety and usability issues, which exacerbated by the decline of abilities that occurs naturally with ageing, prevent older people from using unfamiliar interactive consumer products. However, there is evidence to suggest that older adults want to be able to use new technology in order to feel included in society, and are willing to invest in learning how to use them provided the expected outcomes are perceived as obviously beneficial. This paper details a qualitative study designed to investigate what benefits older adults expect to gain from the technological products they acquire and use. The Technology Biography method was adapted and applied to participants in three age groups: 50-64, 65-75, and over 75 years old. The findings indicate greater acceptance of technology than expected from existing studies. This work is discussed in the context of older adults‟ motivations to use technology, and how their expectations and aspirations affect the uptake of these products.