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Using Internet technologies in rural communities to access services: the views of older people and service providers
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History. School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Australia; The Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, Australia.
Umeå University, Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University. Mid North Knowledge Partnership, Flinders Rural Health South Australia, Flinders University, Australia; The Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University, Australia.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8143-123X
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2017 (English)In: Journal of Rural Studies, ISSN 0743-0167, E-ISSN 1873-1392, Vol. 54, 469-478 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Older people in rural communities increasingly rely on the Internet to access essential health, finance, education, and other social services. However, their abilities to participate in the online service system are often undermined by a continuing 'digital divide'. This divide may be exacerbated by the strategies of service providers who fail to recognise and respond to the needs of older rural clients. This paper is based on a case study in Clare, a small rural town in South Australia, and examines the experiences of older residents and local service providers in trying to engage online for digital service delivery. Drawing on two sets of in-depth interviews, the study uses a mix of thematic content analysis and social network analysis to identify the nature and extent of digital interactions between older people and service providers, and the enablers and challenges for online service engagement. Older participants demonstrated considerable interest in learning how to use the Internet for accessing particular services, with social support networks and third party facilitators being crucial enablers. Service providers' ambitions to engage with older people online appeared more limited as a result of entrenched stereotypes of older non-users, a lack of internal digital skills, as well as organisational and funding constraints. The case study findings emphasise the importance of balancing the views of older people and service providers in the design of online engagement strategies. These insights are critical for improving online service delivery in rural communities affected by an increasing withdrawal of physical services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 54, 469-478 p.
Keyword [en]
Internet use, Older people, Digital divide, Service providers, Rural communities, South Australia
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-125352DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.06.016ISI: 000411545000041OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-125352DiVA: diva2:967538
Available from: 2016-09-09 Created: 2016-09-09 Last updated: 2017-10-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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More languages
Output format
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