Intergenerational solidarity or intergenerational gap? How elderly people experience ICT within their family context

Celiana Azevedo, Cristina Ponte


Starting from the concept of intergenerational solidarity, this paper examines how relations of 36 elderly people with younger generations of their families influence their appropriations and uses of ICT. A multi-qualitative approach - non-participant observation in ICT classes attended by the participants, followed by focus groups and semi-structured interviews – conducted in Brazil and Portugal reveals that the family contexts influence how older people deal with ICT in distinctive ways. In both countries, the influence happens either by building up social interactions and increasing communication inside and outside the family or by contributing to social and emotional isolation, even when family generations are physically close. Even within families – where supportive ties tend to be stronger than outside - intergenerational solidarity regarding digital access and use cannot be taken for granted.


Information and communication technology, family intergenerational solidarity, gerontechnology, Brazil, Portugal.

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