Time to Rise Again: Integration of the Elderly into the Smartphone-Dependent Life in Beijing

Document Type
Master Thesis
Granting Institution
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Philosophische Fakultät und Fachbereich Theologie
Issue Date
Heilmann, Sabrina

The fast progression of digitalization in Beijing is transforming into a more smartphone-dependent life. The elderly face the risk of age discrimination and being left behind. Research has shown that modernization has influenced the concept of filial piety in China. There is also a strive to increase aging for a more self-reliant lifestyle among older people due to over-aging concerns. This study aims to outline the social attempts that enable active agers in Beijing to keep pace with digital development. The primary research focuses on the non-profit organization in Beijing 夕阳再晨 (xīyáng zài chén), “See Young”, which channels student volunteers teaching smartphone functionalities to older people. The purpose of the research is to acknowledge the implementation of social attempts to enhance the elderly’s usage of smartphones and the elderly’s motives for and against using their own devices. A mixed-method study, consisting of ethnographic field research within the organization’s courses, conducted interviews of volunteers and participants and older people not attending courses. In addition, 36 elderly fulfilled surveys to support exploring course effects and their user preferences. The data analysis demonstrates the importance of the social attempt See Young’s courses generated, the diversity in effects of these courses, and the variability in different perspectives of volunteers and older people. Based on the findings, expanding this kind of smartphone course is recommended nationwide and beyond.

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