Ph.D. Candidate Chang Lin on aging with technology

December 9, 2019 by Jada Charles

Ph.D. Candidate Chang Z. Lin, co-authored and published an article in the Canadian Journal of Communication, entitled, "Aging with Technology: Seniors and Mobile Connections." The article investigates seniors' use of mobile technology with a sample in East York. He finds a persistent generational digital divide, with seniors lagging behind other age groups in adopting mobile devices.

Chang Z. Lin is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. His research interests include statistics and network analysis.

The citation and abstract are posted below. The full text is available here.

Jacobson, J., Lin, C. Z., & McEwen, R. (2017). Aging with technology: Seniors and mobile connections. Canadian Journal of Communication, 42(2), 331-357.

This research tells a story of age, aging, and evolving with mobile technologies in a single Canadian community. Using data from 2005 and 2012, we critically analyze seniors’ use of mobile technologies by applying Taylor’s information use environment. The article seeks to understand the influence of context in studying user behaviour vis-à-vis a) device ownership, b) communication practices, and c) technology preferences. Findings suggest that while the social rhetoric of seniors as adopters of mobile technologies (i.e., silver surfers) is premature, there is evidence of seniors leapfrogging older mobile devices and acquiring smartphones—with consequential complications for catching up to widening skills gaps. We also identify a variability of experiences within this generational group suggesting that there may be an additional digital divide among seniors.