Abstract. In this paper, we convey the results of our digital fieldwork within the current mediascape (English) by examining online reactions to an important source of cultural influence: the news media’s depiction of older adult’s stress, the proposals offered to older adults to assist them in coping with the stress of living in the COVID-19 pandemic, and finally, the responses of online commentators to these proposals. A quasi-automated social network analysis of 3390 valid comments in seven major international news outlets (Jan-June 2020), revealed how older adults were generally resourceful and able to cope with COVID-19 stress. For many in this technology-using sample, information and communication technologies (ICTs) were important for staying informed, busy, and connected, but they were not the primary resources for coping. Although teleconferencing tools were praised for facilitating new forms of intergenerational connection during the lockdowns, they were considered temporary and inadequate substitutes for connection to family. Importantly, older adults objected to uncritical and patronizing assumptions about their ability to deal with stress, and to the promotion of ICTs as the most important coping strategy. Our findings underline the necessity of a critical and media-ecological approach to studying the affordances of new ICTs for older adults, which considers changing needs and contextual preferences of aging populations in adoption of de-stressing technologies.
To cite this article: Khalili-Mahani, N., Sawchuk, K., Elbaz, S., Hebblethwaite, S., Timm-Bottos, J. (2022). A Social-Media Study of the Older Adults Coping with the COVID-19 Stress by Information and Communication Technologies. In: Gao, Q., Zhou, J. (eds) Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population. Design, Interaction and Technology Acceptance. HCII 2022. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 13330. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05581-2_26