How the Digital Divide Affects Older Adults | Knowledge Labs

January 10, 2022 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by Milena Head, Professor, Information Systems


The Digital Divide is whether you can access technology like the internet or not. Professor Milena Head discusses how this divide affects older adults.

The Digital Divide is the difference between those who have access to technology, like the internet, and those who do not. The barriers to access include geographic and socioeconomic factors, but also include barriers in attitudes and skills. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this divide was especially felt by older adults. They had to quickly get comfortable with technology to maintain their networks. Unfortunately, cybercrime has skyrocketed during the pandemic, disproportionately affecting this age group.

How can this divide be overcome? Milena Head, Professor, Information Systems, discusses the various ways we can support and remove barriers to access.



When considering how the digital divide affects older adults, many factors come in to play. Natural declines in vision, motor skills, and short-term memory affect how this segment of the population interacts with technology.

Organizations have a responsibility to remove barriers for this segment of their customer base. Milena Head, Professor, Information Systems, discusses how business decisions can create barriers when it comes to technology and shares ideas to help lessen the digital divide.

Knowledge Labs: In the Know is a web series where experts from the DeGroote School of Business offer their insights into current affairs. Keep up with the series.

Milena M. Head

Milena Head

Professor, Information Systems / Wayne C. Fox Chair in Business Innovation / Academic Director, EMBA Program / Director, McMaster Digital Transformation Research Centre

Dr. Milena Head is a Professor of Information Systems at DeGroote, Acting Director, McMaster Digital Transformation Research Centre the Wayne C. Fox Chair in Business Innovation and Academic Director of the EMBA program at the DeGroote School of Business. She specializes in electronic business (eBusiness) and Human Computer Interaction (HCI), having published over 100 papers in academic journals, books and conferences. Her research interests include trust, privacy and adoption of electronic commerce and new technologies; interface design; and cross-cultural, gender and age issues related to technology use. She also examines the potential negative impacts of technology, including identity theft, techno-stress and cyber-bullying. Milena has received numerous teaching and research awards and is frequently called upon by the media and by community groups to speak about her research.

Beyond her academic roles, Milena has acted as a personal consultant on topics of eCommerce strategy, usability and fraud management, and has been an invited speaker at numerous corporate events and meetings. She also developed a senior MBA course at the DeGroote School of Business in partnership with AT Kearney, enabling students to work with real clients on real consulting projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comment Policy

We generally welcome discussion on our blog posts. However, we reserve the right to edit or delete comments in certain situations:

  • Comments which include unrelated or suspicious links or messages (spam).
  • Comments which are off topic.
  • Comments which attack or threaten individuals or a group of people.
  • Comments which include profanity or messages that would generally be considered offensive or inappropriate by the McMaster community.

This site is moderated by the DeGroote Marketing and Communications team. If you have any questions please email Katie Almas.