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Societies 2017, 7(2), 7; doi:10.3390/soc7020007

Older People, Mobile Communication and Risks

1
Communication Department, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Bucharest 012104, Romania
2
Interdisciplinary Internet Institute (IN3); Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona 08018, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stephen Katz
Received: 27 February 2017 / Revised: 29 March 2017 / Accepted: 12 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Aging Futures)
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Abstract

Starting from Beck’s concept of reflexivity, the paper investigates differences in risk perception regarding wireless technologies expressed by older people living in Romania and Catalonia (Spain). We combine evidence from conversations held with older individuals in different research projects together with an ad-hoc media content analysis. Our research reveals that seniors’ discourses were consistent with the media prominence of different types of risks in each country. Results show that seniors’ discourses on health risks relate to the way the media discussed them, with Romanian participants, in contrast to older people from Catalonia, expressing no concerns about electromagnetic radiation. Also, Romanian seniors were more concerned about the risk to others—younger family members—whereas seniors in Catalonia were more concerned about their own risks. Seniors from Romania made more references to the country’s development. We discuss aging futures in societies with different risk perceptions. As the media presents the risks associated with digital technologies in differing lights, people’s perceptions are formed accordingly. Also, in countries where technology is perceived as good per se, the techno-optimistic discourse would be reinforced not only by the media but also by the groups exposed to the highest social pressure towards technology adoption—for example, seniors. View Full-Text
Keywords: risk perception; older people; technology risks; wireless technologies risks; mobile communication risks risk perception; older people; technology risks; wireless technologies risks; mobile communication risks
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ivan, L.; Fernández-Ardèvol, M. Older People, Mobile Communication and Risks. Societies 2017, 7, 7.

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