Gatekeepers Rather than Helpless: An Exploratory Investigation of Seniors’ Use of Information and Communication Technology in Critical Settings

Karanasios, Stan
Cooper, Vanessa
Adrot, Anouck
Mercieca, Bernadette
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Reports and studies often show that seniors suffer disproportionately during disasters. Yet seniors’ handling of information and communication technology is largely overlooked. Based on a qualitative study comprising interviews and focus groups, this research shows important properties of seniors’ practices with information in critical settings. Seniors embody and tap into local knowledge, mingle offline and take online cues about emergency situations, and maintain trust towards institutions. We discuss the need to pursue and diversify investigation on this topic, as well as the role of seniors as gatekeepers rather than considering them helpless individuals. This research contributes to a better understanding of seniors’ use of digital resources by highlighting their role in information sharing in disaster settings. We pave the way for future research to inform policy making and support seniors’ survival in future disasters.
Seniors' Use of Digital Resources, disaster, information communication technology, information practices, seniors
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