Online dialogues: Digital divides during the COVID-19 pandemic

Online dialogues: Digital divides during the COVID-19 pandemic

“What the COVID-19 pandemic has done is making the problems triggered by digitalization processes for older adults more visible. They were already there before!” argued Joan Martínez, president of the National Coordination of Retirees and Pensioners of Catalonia in today’s online dialogue session organized by FiraGran, a third-sector entity dedicated to the older population. Along with Mr. Martínez, CNSC director Dr. Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol discussed some of the challenges faced by some older adults with new digital technologies that have been accelerated with the current pandemic.

The panelists shared views on several issues such as the inherent biases in the design of public and private digital services, the need for assistance in navigating digital processes, and the claim to include older adults’ preferences on how they wish to handle interactions with public administrations and private companies. Mireia highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic forced many entities to quickly convert to the digital, excluding “peripheral” social groups along the way, such as the older people. Although the idea of co-designing digital services and products with older users to promote their inclusion has been long talked about in previous years, the panelists agreed that institutional structures should facilitate alternatives for peripheral users to be included in a way that, in Mireia’s words, “makes sense” to them. 

Watch the full video (in Catalan) in the link at the section below.


Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash.