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An older adult and the smartphone: starting over at the age of 80

Alfonso Otaegui7 June 2021

It meant starting from zero, you know? Valeria found it challenging to adopt the smartphone, which her family imposed on her to reach her anytime. Above all, she struggled with feeling like a newbie once again after having been a professional for many decades.

As in many other countries, older adults in Chile find themselves at the intersection of two global trends: the ageing of the population and the digitalisation of services. To many older adults, it feels like the smartphone has been imposed upon them by digital government policies, the COVID-19 crisis, their own family and so on. Soon enough, mastering this ubiquitous device will be necessary for everyday life as a citizen.

Valeria recounts in this film how she learnt to use the smartphone at the age of 80. In a way, she is also telling us something about her experience of ageing. Our recently published book, The Global Smartphone, Beyond a youth technology, devotes a whole chapter to the relationship between ageing and smartphones, in which this film is embedded. The Spanish translation will be available in November this year.