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Title: Speaking into an app or not? : Exploring the relationship between WhatsApp use and intergenerational communication in aging Singapore
Authors: Zhou, Yichen
Keywords: Social sciences::Communication
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Zhou, Y. (2021). Speaking into an app or not? : Exploring the relationship between WhatsApp use and intergenerational communication in aging Singapore. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: When an aging society encounters mobile media age, communication across generations can become complicated. Mobile media can either improve intergenerational communication despite the geographical separation of generations or it can hamper intergenerational communication partly because of elderly people’s technical literacy barriers. Guided by Intergenerational Solidarity Theory, the thesis explores the relationship between WhatsApp use and intergenerational communication among the aged in Singapore through the use of qualitative interview methods. The study focuses on how elderly people in Singapore perceive the role of WhatsApp in the communication with their adult children, how elderly people’s usage of WhatsApp eventually leads to emotional bonding between generations, and how the use of WhatsApp contributes to the six different dimensions of intergenerational solidarity, both positively and negatively. This study also provides some suggestions regarding intergenerational communication in the context of an aging society. The focus is on improving the elderlies’ subjective well-being. Meanwhile, the current situation of COVID-19 in the world has inserted itself into the research situation. Because of this unique global pandemic, the government in Singapore has encouraged people to communicate with each other through mobile media. This is a strategy with which to reduce face-to-face contact to avoid the spread of virus. After interviewing elderly people in Singapore, it has been found that they regard WhatsApp as a communication link between themselves and their children. Convenience and flexibility are two main reasons for using WhatsApp according to the interviewees. The usage of WhatsApp by elderly people and their children in Singapore has created more opportunities for emotional bonding between generations. The analysis shows that WhatsApp usage is able to contribute to different dimensions of intergenerational solidarity in Singapore, especially associational solidarity, affectual solidarity, and functional solidarity. This can contribute to further research focusing on how to improve intergenerational relations.
DOI: 10.32657/10356/149187
Schools: Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information 
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Theses

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