Comunicar Journal Blog

Internet and the Elderly: Enhancing Active Ageing

The traditional tertiary services approach is now questioned by the new technologies revolution, opening discussion regarding the existence of a quaternary sector. There is no doubt that the internet has changed people’s lives, especially since the beginning of the 21st Century. However, limited research exists about its impact on our ageing process.

Dr. Llorente-Barroso, Dr. Viñarás-Abad and Dr. Sánchez-Valle have carried out a study that aimed to find out the usefulness of the internet for the eldest in society, as well as explain the potential of the intranet to encourage an active ageing. The study included participants with an age range of 56 to 81, where answers and reactions provided valuable results. Focusing on the possibilities for those ageing in the internet era, results show that there are four areas of interest: information, communication, transactions and administration, leisure and entertainment. The internet can be used to optimise their quality of life in relation to these categories.

Bearing in mind that according to the UN, Spain will have the third eldest population in the world by 2050, research that promotes ways of inclusion and progress between the old population and the digitalised world are more than interesting and worth reading. Do not miss your chance to find out details about the above-mentioned article in the following link.

Llorente-Barroso, C., Viñarás-Abad, M. & Sánchez-Valle, M. (2015). Internet and the Elderly: Enhancing Active Ageing [Mayores e Internet: La Red como fuente de oportunidades para un envejecimiento activo]. Comunicar, 45, 29-36. (DOI




The Fourth International Conference on Media Literacy

Marching into the age of Web 3.0 and knowledge society, media and the Internet are playing an influential role in everyday life and continue to affect and transform human’s habits in acquiring, sharing and analyzing information. Media education hence is becoming increasingly important in terms of promoting professional learning and teaching of critical information consumption. The Fourth International Conference on Media Literacy: Multidisciplinary Approach to Media Literacy Research and Practice held in Hong Kong at 5-6 November boosted and marked the field into a new stage.

More than 70 local and overseas academics and educators from over 10 countries around the globe, including Czech Republic, Sweden, India, Japan, Singapore, Mainland China, Taiwan and the US and so on, participated in 10 panels of the conference. Within the two-day conference, around 50 papers were presented, in which half of them were from Mainland China. Participants had rich academic exchanges on media literacy amongst numerous disciplines, such as education, communication studies, journalism, cultural studies, language, arts, new media, health communication, etc.

Besides panel paper presentations, there were two forums focusing on media education. At one of the forums, not only did participants share their views on media education, they also moved on to discuss about the future of Media and Information Literacy (MIL). Noteworthy is that, during the conference, the Chinese version of UNESCO’s “Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework: Country Readiness and Competencies” was introduced by faculty members of the Communication University of China and Dr. Kwame BOAFO, the International Communication and Information Consultant of UNESCO Office Beijing. This marks a milestone that, this framework is officially launched in Mainland China and will greatly enlighten further research.

Another important forum put its emphasis on discussing media literacy as a field. Academics, educators and participants shared a common view that media literacy is a growing academic field, since there have been quite a number of fruitful publications, conferences and academic activities being launched throughout the years around the world. But there remains room for development before media literacy becomes an established academic discipline.

MIL conf 1

(Photo 1. Plenary speakers, honorable guests and chairmen of the conference take photo at the kick-off ceremony)

Apart from the forums and panel presentations, plenary speeches and special talks also enriched the conference with speakers’ inspiring sharing of their knowledge and expertise. For instance, Dr. Donna Chu from The Chinese University of Hong Kong discussed the implications of media and technology changes for media literacy and the challenges of teaching students on media production. Prof. Andrew Burn from the University College London suggested that we should shed light on creative media production in the field of media education. Such cross-medium and cross-disciplinary practice will benefit the linkage between elite and popular culture. From a critical point of view, Prof. Ellen Seiter from University of Southern California brought forth the challenging fact that we are facing the exponential expansion of media conglomerate, such as Google, in different social aspects. Situated in such context, she highlighted her special concerns of brain health among young media users. Media literacy curriculum is regarded as useful for guiding young people to face the challenge of the digital era.

MIL conf 2

(Photo 2. Dr. Donna Chu shares her views at the conference forum)

MIL conf 3

(Photo 3. Prof. Andrew Burn delivers his plenary speech at the conference)

FLAME (Films, Languages and Media in Education)

FLAME (Film, Language and Media in Education) is an innovative project that combines the areas of teaching foreign languages with film and media. It is based in Manchester Metropolitan University and its main aim is to promote research projects as well as become a reference point for those working on the field. To find out more about FLAME, visit

Their first conference was held in June 2015 with a huge success. It was a fantastic and well-organised event that put together professionals from different parts of the world. Dr. Kieran Donaghy and Prof. Brian Tomlinson were keyspeakers in an event that had around 60 speakers and more than 100 participants. More than 95% of the attendees expressed their desire to become affiliate members of FLAME. The following video summarises the experience http://

Don’t hesitate to contact the FLAME team if you have any further questions on the project:


Xiao Wan: Reflections on Cyberbullying through Mobile Phones and the Internet

Cyberbullying trough Mobile Phone and the Internet in Dating Relationships among Youth People – by Dr. Mercedes Durán, Dr. Roberto Martinez-Pecino

Comunicar, n. 44, v. XXII, 2015


Nowadays, the Internet and information and communication technologies (ICT) has played an important role in people’s lives. Despite the numerous benefits of ICT, the risks of using ICT are emerging with its rapid and constant growth. Cyberbullying is one of the negative phenomenon which with significant risks for the health of victims and have great impact on people’s communication in virtual world, especially for the youth.

This study took 336 students (which comprising 180 females and 155 males, aged between 18 and 30) at the University of Seville as research sample, aiming to understand cyberbullying through the use of mobile phones and the Internet in romantic relationships. There were three objectives in this research. Firstly, the study aimed to describe the levels of victimization and cyberbullying through the use of mobile phones and the Internet. What’s more, gender differences in cyberbullying that took place in the context of romantic relationships were analyzed in this study. The third objective of this study was to analyze the relationship between having been victimized by a partner via mobile phones or the Internet and the involvement in cyberbullying as a perpetrator via the same medium. The study asked the participants to respond to the questionnaire in their classes, analyzed the data with the SPSS (version 18) statistical software and contributed some valuable findings related to the research objectives. In conclusion, the study offers new contributions by analyzing the phenomenon of cyberbullying in an older group (young adults), which is different to that normally studied in literature (adolescents), also using different relationship context (romantic relationships), and contributing data on these characteristics in a Spanish context.

This study gives us a new perspective in cyberbullying research. In order to make the research field to be more valuable, there are still something we should take into consideration.

  • At first, how many kinds of relationships contexts in cyberbullying? What are they? What are the differences between them?
  • What’s more, the gender differences in cyberbullying should be further explored. Actually, there are already some researches considered the gender differences in cyberbullying, while the research results seems to be various, sometimes even the opposite. The research context should be further analyzed and compared to explore the reasons of this phenomenon. Then we can better understand how to take these differences into consideration in practice, such as design suitable curriculum for girls and boys respectively, and take different protection measures for different group.

Composed by Ms. XIAO Wan

Doctoral student

Nanjing Normal University, CHINA

xiao wan

MOOC as an all-in-one platform for teaching and research

HKU04x Making Sense of News


(HKU04x ran between May 19 and June 23, 2015)

I’ve recently finished teaching my first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on news literacy for the public on edX, the non-profit education portal founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The six-week course, titled Making Sense of News, attracted thousands of students from 147 countries. It comprised 63 short lecture video clips (mostly between 2 to 4 minutes), exercises, readings, five graded assignments (two of which were peer-reviewed) and discussion forums (964 comment entries were made by the final week).

Making Sense of News: Geographical data
More than 7,500 students from all over the world signed up for the course.

The massive collection of students’ behavioral data aggregated at the end of the course made me realize the potential of online-based media education research.

The following blog post sketches out some of the many possibilities this emerging form of teaching and learning can be used.

The big data gathered through MOOCs, in my view, would shed light on certain elements that could have not been examined through the conventional research methods.

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Xu Wen: Media literacy education as liberal education in a Chinese high school


Two years ago, I got a chance to practice media literacy education in a Chinese high school. Based on the preliminary survey among these high school students, they are involved in popular culture, but do not care news much. News is an important channel for high school students to know the world and participate in social affairs. Therefore, we (the research team) plan to take them to focus on studying news. The purpose is to help students to access to news information, analyze and evaluate news information and communicate news in various situations. Studying news information is a way to cultivate citizenship, helping them to involve in social activities. Media literacy education is taken as liberal education in the school, and news is the main topic through the course. For news information, the main analytical framework for the course is:

Who (person and agency) produce the piece of news?

How many information sources are used in the piece of news?

Are these sources independent?

Which are reliable sources and which are not? Why?

How do you rewrite the piece of news if you were a journalist?

During the course, it takes activity-based learning for students. There are a lot of news examples that we can use for students activities. They are often divided into different groups to discuss some current issues, to present their news production and so on. Right or wrong is not the final answer for their discussion in the classroom. They have to provide logical and rational analysis for their opinions instead of offering a conclusion. Besides the classroom learning, students visited newspaper agency and TV station to get direct perception toward news production. With two rounds of practice, students show great interest in studying news. For media literacy education, it is expected that students could communicate news information in various situation. However, the time for the course is very limited. There are just six sessions for each class. In the later practice, we wish it could extend to news communication and production, particularly with we-media like twitter.

Author: Ms. XU Wen

XU Wen

Research Fellow, Institute of Higher Education, Communication University of China

Research interest: media literacy, comparative education and higher education

Issue 45 “Communicating in an Ageing World” is out!

45  Comunicar 45 “Communicating in an Ageing World” has been recently published. The Journal has also  a monographic section and a wide variety of items in its miscellaneous section. All articles are available full text and free of charge on our official website.

01 Uses and Gratifications of Computers in South African Elderly PeopleTanja Bosch, Ciudad del Cabo (South Africa) | Bronwyn Currin, Ciudad del Cabo (South Africa)

02 Use, Consumption and Knowledge of New Technologies by Elderly People in France, United Kingdom and Spain Cristina González, Castellón (Spain) | Carlos Fanjul, Castellón (Spain) | Francisco Cabezuelo, Valladolid (Spain)

03 Internet and the Elderly: Enhancing Active Ageing Carmen Llorente, Madrid (Spain) | Mónica Viñarás, Madrid (Spain) | María Sánchez, Madrid (Spain)

04 Active Ageing and Access to Technology: An Evolving Empirical Study Raquel Casado, Burgos (Spain) | Fernando Lezcano, Burgos (Spain) | María José Rodríguez, Salamanca (Spain)

05 New Elders, Old Divides: ICTs, Inequalities and Well Being amongst Young Elderly Italians Fausto Colombo, Milán (Italy) | Piermarco Aroldi, Milán (Italy) | Simone Carlo, Milán (Italy)

06 From Digital Divide to Psycho-digital Divide: Elders and Online Social Networks Begoña Peral, Sevilla (Spain) | Jorge Arenas, Sevilla (Spain) | Ángel Francisco Villarejo, Sevilla (Spain)

07 A Mobile Augmented Reality Assistive Technology for the Elderly Rafael Saracchini, Burgos (Spain) | Carlos Catalina, Burgos (Spain) | Luca Bordoni, Ancona (Italy)

08 EyeTracker Technology in Elderly People: How Integrated Television Content is Paid Attention to and Processed Elena Añaños, Barcelona (Spain)

09 Design Patterns to Enhance Accessibility and Use of Social Applications for Older Adults Huizilopoztli Luna, Zacateca (Mexico) | Ricardo Mendoza, Aguascalientes (Mexico) | Francisco Javier Álvarez, Aguascalientes (Mexico)

10 Using Technology to Connect Generations: Some Considerations of Form and Function Mariano Sánchez, Granada (Spain) | Matthew Kaplan, State College (United States) | Leah Bradley, Rockville (United States)

11 The framework of Media Education and Media Criticism in the Contemporary World: The opinion of International Experts Alexander Fedorov, Rostov (Russian Federation) | Anastasia Levitskaya, Taganrog (Russian Federation)

12 University Teaching with Digital Technologies Carlos Marcelo, Sevilla (Spain) | Carmen Yot, Sevilla (Spain) | Cristina Mayor, Sevilla (Spain)

13 Mexican Children and American Cartoons: Foreign References in Animation Elia Margarita Cornelio, Villahermosa (Mexico)

14 ICT Leadership in Higher Education: A Multiple Case Study in Colombia Gary Cifuentes, Bogotá (Colombia) | Ruben Vanderlinde, Gantes (Belgium)

15 Spanish Journalists and the Loss of News Quality: Professional Judgements Josep Lluis Gómez, Valencia (Spain) | Juan Francisco Gutiérrez, Málaga (Spain) | Dolors Palau, Valencia (Spain)

16 Primary Teachers’ Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge Rosabel Roig, Alicante (Spain) | Santiago Mengual, Valencia (Spain) | Patricia Quinto, Indianápolis (United States)

17 ICT Use and Parental Mediation Perceived by Chilean Children Llarela Berríos, Santiago (Chile) | María Rosa Buxarrais, Barcelona (Spain) | María Soledad Garcés, Santiago (Chile)

18 Children’s Exposure to Advertising on Games Sites in Brazil and Spain Daniel Marti, Vigo (Spain) | Pâmela Saunders, Ceará (Brazil)

19 Telecommunication Industry Contributions to Child Online Protection Mónica Recalde, Pamplona (Spain) | Charo Sádaba, Pamplona (Spain) | Elena Gutiérrez, Pamplona (Spain)

20 Information Literacy Grade of Secondary School Teachers in Spain – Beliefs and Self-Perceptions Juan Francisco Álvarez, Tarragona (Spain) | Mercè Gisbert, Tarragona (Spain)