Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Michael Keane
Chapter 29: Elderly people and the Internet: a demographic reconsideration
When the business leaders of China’s Internet companies talk about the synergies between the Internet and cultural industries, very few references are made to older adults. Most attention is focused on youth demographics, the heaviest consumers of online sites and social media. As other chapters in this volume have shown, the fast adoption of digital technologies by China’s one child generation (those born after 1980) provides a partial picture of China’s digital cultural and creative industries. However, if we are to gain a comprehensive understanding of these industries in China, it is important to represent all citizens of China. Elderly people are avid consumers of TV drama; they participate enthusiastically in cultural activities such as communal dancing in parks; and many uphold traditional cultural values. But when it comes to digital culture, the question remains: how do they participate? Moreover, what is the potential of this growing demographic? How is their social capital developed and maintained through digital culture? These are missing parts of the puzzle.
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