Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Frontline Knowledge: Digital Media Literacy of Older Adults in Ukraine

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Abstract:  Digital media literacy becomes crucial in modern conflict zones, as conflicts are increasingly digitized and hyperconnected. While a dangerous environment raises the need for orientation, propaganda and fakes discourage audiences’ sense-making efforts. Older adults often experience digital and social exclusion and might be vulnerable to mis- and disinformation. Previous research, focusing mostly on Western Europe, has studied digital media practices of older adults, however, there is very little knowledge on digital media literacy skills and needs of older adults in conflict zones. Drawing on eight focus groups, this article explores Ukrainian older adults’ challenges and compensation strategies during the digitized war. An inductive-qualitative analysis identifies three main factors that shape digital practices and dictate the literacy needs of Ukrainian older adults: (a) (lack of) access, grounded in material infrastructure and social ties; (b) self-(in)efficacy that often stems from pre-convictions about one’s agency and position in society; and (c) resilience that becomes crucial in the situation of continuous exposure to (mediated) violence. This research contributes to the understanding of the media literacy needs of older adults and lays the foundation for developing digital literacy study programs in conflict zones.

Keywords:  conflict; digital literacy; media literacy; older adults; Russian-Ukrainian war

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.8277


© Olga Pasitselska. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.