ABSTRACT

As aging population is on the steep rise with the advent of the digital era, digital alienation is emerging as a social and economic issue. In this regards, it is urgent to shape policies to address a digital divide between the young and the old. The study is to analyze the factors affecting the digital divide in a theoretical and empirical way, providing policy alternatives to narrow the digital divide. The study is summarized as follows: The analysis of the status of digital divide between the young and the old shows the Internet usage by the elderly (that is, those over 50 years old) is 28.3%, significantly lower than that by the young. Moreover, as the age becomes higher, the usage rate tends to be rapidly decreasing. In particular, the usage rate is much lower among those with lower education, lower income, and non-office jobs. Also, the empirical analysis of the usage and utilization of information goods by the aging population reveals that people tend to be reluctant adopting and utilizing the information technology as it gets older, making it necessary to support the utilization of information goods as well as the adoption. Based on the analysis, the study provides ways to bridge the digital divide between the young and the old from the following three perspectives. First, for the information approach, it is required to provide low-end or used personal computers with Internet connection; develop and support technologies ensuring universal access to the information resources; and supply new devices available as telecommunications and broadcasting becomes converged and the digital broadcasting is introduced. Second, to boost the information technology proficiency of the elderly, it is needed to provide IT training programs for the older people with the support from the private sector; reinforce the customized IT education and training programs; come up with a variety of ways of providing education; and have advanced IT programs, in order to promote the elderly's participation in the economy. Third, to encourage the utilization of information technology, it is necessary to create jobs and provide relevant information to the aging population, promoting their participation in the economy; support the older people utilize IT facilities, upgrading the welfare services; and develop content for education and lifelong education programs.

KEYWORD

digital divide, aging Society, informatization, information technology (IT), the internet

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