We Must Protect Children but Also Their Grandparents: A Qualitative Understanding of Older Adults’ General Perceptions and Understanding of Social Networks


  • Hedviga Tkáčová Department of Journalism, Faculty of Arts and Letters, The Catholic University in Ruzomberok, Hrabovská cesta 1, 034 01 Ruzomberok, Slovakia https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3062-2284
  • Zdenka Gadušová Department of English and American Studies, Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Štefánikova 67, 949 74 Nitra, Slovakia
  • Kseanela Sotirofski Faculty of Education, University Aleksandër Moisiu Durrës, Lagja nr.1, Rruga e Currilave, 2004 Durrës, Albania
  • Munira Yusupova The Department of Theory and Practice of English Language, Khujand State University named after academician B.Gafurov, proyezd Mavlonbekova, 1, 735700 Khujand, Tajikistan




Older adults, social networks, knowledge level, motivations, benefits, challenges, digital citizenship


Aim. Research on older adults (≥ 60) repeatedly confirms that the use of social networks has a rather positive effect on these users. The indicated trend leads us to the research of older adults with a focus on their motivations and challenges when using social networking sites.

Methods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty-four older adults in Slovakia. The aim was to uncover the deeper processes and details that the members of the selected sample experience when using social networks.

Results. The thematic analysis revealed a disproportion between low knowledge of social networks and willingness to use them in theresearch sample (Q1). While older adults rated their knowledge of social networks with a school grade of 4, they do not see this as an obstacle to their increasingly frequent use of social networks. Within the second research area (Q2), a set of seven motivations derived from the use of social networks among respondents were identified. Finally, four main challenges (Q3) were identified in the research.

Conclusion. Research findings confirms not only older adults’ growing interest in using social networks, but also the need for adequate media education with a focus on ‘digital citizenship’, which emphasises both, skills and also knowledge.

Cognitive value. When using social networks among older adults, their family members are the driving force behind respondents’ understanding (knowledge) and technological progress (practical skills). There is the necessity of advancement of digital competencies of older adults.


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Author Biographies

Hedviga Tkáčová, Department of Journalism, Faculty of Arts and Letters, The Catholic University in Ruzomberok, Hrabovská cesta 1, 034 01 Ruzomberok, Slovakia

Dr. Hedviga Tkáčová, PhD studied doctoral studies in journalism at the Catholic University in Ružomberok, Slovakia. She decided to pursue further studies, adding a bachelor’s degree in Mission Work, a master’s degree in Social Management and social work, a rigorous examination in the field of theology, focusing on interfaith dialogue, and a second rigorous examination in Religious studies. Pastoral work, social work, and studies in religion were important parts of each of these programs. In-depth understanding of each subject, as well as pedagogical enthusiasm and practical participation, in the form of publication in these areas grew naturally. At that time, Hedviga Tkáčová worked as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Žilina in Žilina. At the same time, she also directed the communications department of the Christian Education Foundation in Martin, working primarily in the field of public relations.

In recent years, Dr. Tkáčová has developed a growing interest in human resource management, issues of cultural diversity, and positive uses of the media in education. Her enthusiasm for the latter area allowed her to return to the Catholic University in Ružomberok, where she now works as an assistant professor (currently on parental leave). She publishes on the domestic and foreign scene in the field of new media, disinformation media, and management of education using social media.

Zdenka Gadušová, Department of English and American Studies, Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Štefánikova 67, 949 74 Nitra, Slovakia

Prof. Zdenka GADUSOVA, Ph.D. is an experienced university manager, project foreign coordinator, university teacher and teacher trainer in the field of methodology of teaching languages. In the 1990s she worked in the position of the Head of the Department of English and American Studies where she co-ordinated several TEMPUS JEP projects as a coordinator and contractor. In 1996 she became the Vice-dean for Education and since 2002 she was in the position of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (Slovakia) for 8 years. Then (2010-2014), she was the vice-dean for research and postgraduate studies. She is the author and co-author of twelve monographs and a number of articles and papers, regular presenter of the results of her research work at conferences and seminars.

Kseanela Sotirofski, Faculty of Education, University Aleksandër Moisiu Durrës, Lagja nr.1, Rruga e Currilave, 2004 Durrës, Albania

Prof. Dr. Kseanela Sotirofski is a distinguished figure in the realm of education, presently fulfilling the esteemed position of Rector at "Aleksandër Moisiu" University, Durrës, a role she has held since the year 2016. Throughout her academic journey, she has assumed significant responsibilities, notably as the Dean of the Faculty of Education at "Aleksandër Moisiu" University, Durrës, and as the Chair of the Department of Sociology and Psychology. Possessing a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree in Education Management and Supervision from Gazi Üniversitesi, Prof. Dr. Sotirofski exhibits profound competence in matters pertinent to educational leadership.

Prof. Dr. Sotirofski has made substantial contributions to the enhancement of higher education quality and standards, both as a proficient authority in the subject matter and an independent assessor of educational programs. Her scholarly works encompass an array of themes, including teacher preparation, socio-economic development, and policies pertaining to inclusive education. Her exceptional leadership skills and erudition find manifestation in her pivotal role, one that has been instrumental in the metamorphosis of the educational landscape not only within Albania but also transcending its borders.

Munira Yusupova, The Department of Theory and Practice of English Language, Khujand State University named after academician B.Gafurov, proyezd Mavlonbekova, 1, 735700 Khujand, Tajikistan

More than 27 years of experience in the field of English teaching in University level. Academic, research and language focus is English, Russian and Tajik languages. She has published more than 50 publications in domestic and international journals, including co-authorship in writing manuals for university students. She has administrative experience running the Department of Theory and Practice of English Language in 2018 to 2022. Her research work deals with comparative linguistics, studying fauna and flora terminology spefics in English and Tajik languages with the ficus on their syntax and morphokogy.


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How to Cite

Tkáčová, H., Gadušová, Z., Sotirofski, K., & Yusupova, M. (2023). We Must Protect Children but Also Their Grandparents: A Qualitative Understanding of Older Adults’ General Perceptions and Understanding of Social Networks. Journal of Education Culture and Society, 14(2), 297–316. https://doi.org/10.15503/jecs2023.2.297.316

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