Two teachers of the Department of Sociology of the University of Murcia (UMU), Salvador Manzanera Román and Francisco E. Haz Gómez, will have financing from the COTEC Foundation for Innovation, for a project with which they intend to improve the Electronic administration thinking of older people. His project has been one of the 14 chosen among the 734 proposals submitted by researchers and institutions throughout Spain.

Both experts will carry out an investigation in order to bridge the digital divide in the use of eGovernment and public services by older people.The causes that prevent them from being users of all the resources and services that the different administrative entities make available to citizens will be studied. These researchers join the line of research on the digital society and technology within the UMU Department of Sociology.

It will also be possible to determine to what extent improve the adaptation of eGovernment to this age group. In this way, it will be possible to avoid that, when going from the presence of the public Administration to the virtuality of electronics, the elderly become victims of exclusion risks as digital non-natives.

The digital divide as a new form of exclusion

Public administrations at their different levels (European, national, regional and local) have promoted in recent years the generalization of the Electronic administration with the purpose of increasing the level of effectiveness or improvement in the provision of services to citizens.

According to both researchers, “it is known that current technological change is faster, more intense and generalized, reaching all kinds of human activities such as productive or industrial but also related to citizen participation. This fact imposes a challenge to democracy, the economic system, the social model and, above all, the exercise of rights by citizens. “

The latest studies indicate that older people are the ones who consider least consider that they have sufficient skills for the use of digital technologies. So, “public institutions must face a new form of social exclusion such as the digital divide and, therefore, not to leave behind the group of older people with the advancement of the digital society ”, point out those responsible for the research.

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