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Based on studies demonstrating that religious activity has a positive effect on the quality of life in old age – and in light of studies showing that the use of digital media improves the well-being of elderly individuals – this study aims to explore the benefits of participation in online religious and spiritual activities to older adults.

For that purpose, two qualitative methodologies – action research and netnography – will be used. In the Action research part, a group of twenty homebound religious individuals aged 65 and over will be trained using three religious online platforms:

(1) online religious or spiritual community (i.e. discussion forum);

(2) online frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the Jewish law; and

(3) online religious and spiritual classes.

All twenty participants will be interviewed prior to this intervention. They will also be interviewed six and twelve months following the training.

Through Netnography, we will perform weekly ethnographic observations of the participants’ online religious activities. These observations will last twelve months and include collecting information on usage patterns of the elderly population within the online space, as well as the contents they post and the interaction among them. The combination of these two research methodologies is expected to contribute to a richer and more comprehensive understanding of both religion and aging in a digital world. Findings will thus expand the current body of knowledge, and, hopefully, present an alternative, available, and innovative solution to the religious-spiritual and social-emotional distress that many individuals feel their later years.

Student Researchers
Sarit Okun, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Funding
ACT-SSHRC

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Research Areas:

Telecommunication Technologies

ACT Partners
Concordia University


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