Grannies on the Net: Barcelona and Cali

Period: 2017 – 2018

Source of funding: Social Science and Humanities Research Council del Canadà (SSHRC)

Project framework: ACT Project

Team: Loredana Ivan, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration; Shannon Hebblethwaite, Concordia University; Roxana Barrantes, Institute of Peruvian Studies; Galit Nimrod, Ben Gurion University of the Negev; Sergio Sayago, Universitat de Barcelona; Leading researcher for Barcelona and Cali cases: Andrea Rosales, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya; Collaborator for Barcelona and Cali cases: Daniel Blanche, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

Description: The purpose of the project is to cross‐culturally interrogate the relationship between ICTs and the social participation of grandmothers (65+) in Canada, Romania, Peru, Israel, Spain, and Colombia. This research will contribute to the current literature on how older adults use (or don’t use) ICTs in their everyday lives by focusing on a range of media, including mobile devices (mobile phones, tablets, laptops), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), online communities, blogs, and other communication platforms such as Skype, Face Time, and email. We ask them what technologies they use, what for, and how they learned to use them, among other questions. The project extends beyond family communication and focus on social participation more broadly, including leisure engagement, as ICTs are often used to a wide variety of issues (e.g., coordinating social groups, seeking and sharing information with other older people, consuming and creating media contents). We expect to find interesting cultural differences in norms and practices related to family relations and grandparenting. Our study could make an interesting contribution to the literature with a cross‐cultural sample.

Methodology: Using a focus group methodology, researchers (together with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) engage grandmothers (age 65 and older who have used Internet) in conversations about their everyday uses of ICTs. Topics explored include: what media they engage with; what media they don’t engage with; how they engage with these media (how often, with whom, in what ways, and how they learned); their reasons for engagement and non‐engagement; and their overall perceptions about the relationship between ICTs and social participation in their everyday lives. Three to four focus groups, with 6 to 8 participants, will be conducted in each of the following locations: Bucharest, Peru, Israel, Barcelona and Cali. In order to obtain greater geographical representation in Canada, 10 focus groups (2 focus groups in each of the five provinces) will be conducted in different provinces (Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland, Manitoba, and British Columbia). These provinces were chosen to represent different regions in Canada.

Expected outputs: These group conversations will be video recorded (with participant consent) and used in the dissemination and knowledge mobilization activities that will result from the project (e.g., peer‐reviewed presentations and publications, on the ACT website, and potentially other public venues).



Image by the ACT Project.