Enhancing digital inclusion of seniors via mobile digital stories and social media participation
Seniors are amongst the most digitally excluded in Australia. Despite the increasing popularity of social media, seniors often lack access to technology and to basic digital skills. Thus many seniors do not derive the social benefits and service realisation that arise from online forms of communication and engagement. One barrier to digital inclusion for seniors is learning how to make use of digital and online tools in a way that incorporates their specific needs, interests and capabilities.
The 60+ Online project fostered digital inclusion amongst 22 Australian seniors with varied digital skills and from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Within workshops, researchers encouraged seniors to learn basic digital skills, addressed seniors’ concerns about confidentiality and privacy, and introduced them to safe and regulated online social media platforms. Seniors were encouraged to draw upon personal and community interests to inform storyboarding and digital story development. Digital stories were generated and edited using personal mobile technology. Social media sites (a closed Facebook page and personal Instagram accounts) facilitated sharing of digital skills development and experiences outside the workshops. Regardless of digital skill levels at outset, every senior who completed the workshops ‘graduated’, and produced their own digital story. These digital stories were showcased at festivals, City Council events, and hosted on YouTube.
This article outlines the framework used for this project, from the first co-design workshop to YouTube dissemination. We provide links to workshop resources and tools (iPads, smartphones and apps used) in order to provide a model for digital inclusion that may be replicated for other disadvantaged or vulnerable groups in diverse community-based settings.