Facing the digital divide in E-stonia: A field study on the inclusion of senior citizens in the digital society of Estonia

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation

Abstract: With the vast processes of digitalization and digitization taking place in many countries in the world, the small northeastern European country Estonia has managed to make incredible advancements in the field of technology and in creating a digital society. Today, the most digitized country and government in the world provides a vast majority of governmental services online, presents the most unicorns per capita in the world and is establishing digital embassies. But what do these processes mean for some of the most vulnerable groups in society? The Estonian population is declining annually while the population is getting older. Today, the societal group above 65 years of age constitutes the largest single group in Estonia, although official statistics of internet usage stops at the age of 74. The following research has been conducted with the intention to answer how the increased technological governmental communication in the form of e-Governance has affected the senior citizens of Estonia as well as how Estonia works in order to make sure that senior citizens can participate in high technological activities on equal terms as the rest of the population. This has been done through a qualitative field study where the material has been based on semi structured interviews with theoretical perspectives based on governance theory and a stakeholder approach. The results of this research show that there is still a present digital divide in Estonia and that individual citizen responsibilities in combination with the possibility of still handling public services physically characterize the landscape of digital and public services.

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