Picture by Christopher Lance

Grannies on the net

A Comparative Case Study of Canada, Romania, Peru, Israel, Italy, Spain, and Colombia

This international, comparative case study brings together research on information and communication technologies (ICTs) in seven countries across the globe. The purpose of the study cross-culturally interrogate the relationship between ICTs and the social participation of grandmothers in Canada, Romania, Peru, Israel, Italy, Spain, and Colombia. This research will contribute to the current literature on how older adults use (or don’t use) ICTs in their everyday lives by focusing on a range of media, including mobile devices (mobile phones, tablets, laptops), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), online communities, blogs, and other communication platforms such as Skype, Face Time, and email.

Ageing is often accompanied by changes in social participation. In the context of today’s intensive global migration for work and study, older adults are often left behind when children or grandchildren move abroad. Contact with friends and family members can impact grandmothers’ wellbeing in myriad ways. Information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as Facebook or Skype, might offer appropriate mechanisms to facilitate family bonding, develop and maintain friendships, and engage in a satisfying leisure lifestyle. ICTs can help families to develop a shared history and sense of social support among generations. Given the increased role of ICTs in society today, including increasing usage among older adults, it is vital, therefore, to develop a better understanding of the role that ICTs play in the social participation of grandmothers.

To understand how grandmothers experience the use of ICTs, focus groups will be conducted in seven countries in North America, South America, Europe, and the Middle East (Dr. Shannon Hebblethwaite – Canada; Dr. Loredana Ivan – Romania; Dr. Roxana Barrantes – Peru; Dr. Galit Nimrod – Israel; Dr. Piermarco Aroldi – Italy; Dr. Andrea Rosales & Sergio Sayago – Spain; Dr. Andrea Rosales – Colombia) will explore how ICTs influence social participation of grandmothers in their relationships with friends and family, as well as in their own leisure pursuits. Findings will better illuminate the role that ICTs play the social lives of grandmothers.


Shannon Hebblethwaite (Concordia University)
Loredana Ivan (National School of Political Studies and Public Administration)
Roxana Barrantes (Institut for Peruvian Studies)
Galit Nimrod (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Piermarco Aroldi (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
Simone Carlo (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)
Andrea Rosales (IN3 – University Obertal de Catalunya)
Sergio Sayago (University Pompeu Fabra)

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

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