Utilizing the technology acceptance model theory (TAM), this study focuses on current digital communication tools used by those who are 65 and older, and the benefits and barriers of use. Using a mixed methods approach, individual interviews were conducted with those in this age demographic. The interviews captured older individuals’ preferences of digital communication tools, their primary uses of these tools, and any barriers that hinder their use and acceptance. A survey of caregivers was conducted to gain their perspective on the benefits and barriers they see older people face when using digital technology media. The survey was sent to caregivers in their places of work, community groups, and educational learning centers who provide services to older adults. The survey provided information from the caregivers, which is lacking in the current research available. The results based on 30 interviews (N = 30) showed that the people in this age group use a variety of communication devices and rely on them. Their concerns and barriers were primarily with security and the continued training that was needed. They reported a lack of understanding about the inner workings of their equipment, and the need for a place or persons to aid in their training. There was also some discussion of physical limitations that they incur when using their devices, and trusting the internet with their personal information. There was also a correlation of level of education and use of these tools.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Computers and older people; Older people--Attitudes; Digital communications--Public opinion; Cell phones--Public opinion; Tablet computers--Public opinion; Laptop computers--Public opinion; Computers--Public opinion; Digital divide

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Communication and Media Technologies (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Communication (CLA)


Tracy Worrell

Advisor/Committee Member

Hans-Peter Bischof

Advisor/Committee Member

Ammina Kothari


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes