Older people’s news dependency and social connectedness

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Social isolation has become a growing issue, particularly among older citizens. The ‘digital divide’ has been identified as one of the contributing factors leaving many older citizens behind. While increasing digital literacy among seniors has been identified as one of the remedies, less attention has been paid to the role of news media on the wellbeing and connectedness of older people. Through the lens of the uses and gratifications theory, this article reports on the findings of a survey of 562 news consumers aged 50 years and above who live in Canberra, the capital city of Australia. The analysis highlights the important role of news in reducing feelings of social isolation, particularly for those who spend more time alone and older people with cognitive impairment. Older participants who had difficulty concentrating and learning new tasks were also more dependent on news. We suggest this is due to the habitual, predictable and concise nature of news. These findings contribute to our understanding of the role of news in the wellbeing of older people and point to the need for policymakers and those in the aged care sector to ensure access to news for older citizens to improve the quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-196
Number of pages14
JournalMedia International Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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