Digital literacy is fast becoming a necessary skill for mediating life in the 21st century. Digital technologies, digital media, and digital devices have become ubiquitous and intrinsic in modern society and using one to interact with the others requires specific skills--digital literacies--be learned. The purpose of this research was to understand the extent to which Baby Boomers are digitally literate, the digital devices they understand and use, and the purposes for which they are using them. Residents living in a specific group of age-restricted communities comprised of people 55 years of age and older were e-mailed requests to participate in an online survey. More than 8,200 homes received the invitations and 659 people agreed to participate. The survey consisted of 17 three-part, forced-choice questions and five demographic identifiers. To analyze the data, the researcher used SPSS and ran chi-square tests on each response comparing Older Boomers to Younger Boomers regarding specific digital activities in which they engaged, the device(s) they used, and the frequencies with which they engaged in those activities. The results of this study indicate that the Baby Boomers in the study possess basic functional digital literacies. They use the Internet daily to read news, check weather, and look up recipes, directions, and medical information. While participation in the various activities was fairly even between both Boomer groups, Younger Boomers tend to send and receive text messages, bank online, pay bills online, search for recipes, save online bookmarks, visit social networks, read blogs, and take online classes more than Older Boomers. The majority of respondents were women, college educated, with annual household incomes of $75,000.00 or more. The most popular digital devices used were laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones, respectively and respondents averaged using three different digital devices while engaging in their digital activities. The trend is toward decreasing use of desktop and laptop computers and a corresponding increase in the use of tablets and smartphones.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational technology; Internet literacy; Technological literacy; Computers and older people; Internet and older people

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Weber, Margaret J.;