Around the world the proportion of older people is growing, and this group is accessing the World Wide Web more and more for a variety of purposes including e-mail, finance, health information and genealogy. There are several different definitions of what constitutes an “older person,” but for the purposes of this article we will define older people as those over sixty-five years of age and no longer in the full-time workforce. The proportion of older people in Australia will increase dramatically over the next twenty-five years and Foskey (1998) notes that since the nineteenth century there has been a “longevity revolution” in the Western world. In Australia during the past decade the over sixty-five age group living in non-metropolitan areas has seen the greatest rate of growth (Foskey 1998).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Off-Line Virtual Community: Members of an off-line virtual community do not communicate directly with one another but are reliant on broadcast media such as newspapers, TV and radio to sustain their common interests or bonds.
Virtual Community: A group of people who share a common interest or bond, but rather than meeting physically they form communities that cross geographical, social, cultural and economic boundaries.
Internet-Based Virtual Communities: Allow a wide range of global individuals to argue, share information, make friends, and undertake economic exchanges, in a flexible and socially compelling common online arena.
Older People: Those over sixty-five years of age and no longer in the full-time workforce.
Online Virtual Community: Internet-based virtual communities.
Community: A group of people having cultural, religious, ethnic or other characteristics in common.
Web Portal: A special Web site designed to give access to all network-accessible resources whether involving intranets, extranets, or the Internet.