Olayinka AKANLE, Olabisi YUSUF, O. D OLA-LAWSON, Olufunmilola Esther AKANLE


Common problem at old age is loneliness and social neglect. Most often, many elderly people feel left alone with detrimental effects on their welfare and social state. With modernization, urbanization and capitalism, children are compelled to work far from home and once this happens, social realities make it difficult for them to keep in touch with their parents. The situations become more precarious as intergenerational gaps widen to include grandchildren and grandparents. Many grandparents of Africa play nurturing roles for their grandchildren and this compensates for the companionship they lose with their immediate children. With continuous effects of modernization and capitalism however, the first level loneliness tend to play out at this second level of grand relations. With the advent of social media and IT however, the description of space and relations across spaces tend to be redefined and reappropriated in manners that blurred hitherto gender lines of neglect. It is against this backdrop that this article examined the role of social media in moderating intergenerational relations within African family social system. The primary location of this study is Ibadan, Oyo state, south western Nigeria. 200 copies of structured questionnaires were administered on grandparents and their distant children while 20 in-depth interviews were conducted with grandparents in Ibadan. While questionnaires were analyzed using the SPSS, the IDIs were tape-recorded and analyzed using ethnographic summaries and narratives. Very definitive findings were made that will enhance body of knowledge on family relations, IT, socialization, gerontology and development.


Keywords: Companionship, Gender-flux, Digital space, social media, grand relations

Full Text:



Adler R & Towne N. (1978); Looking out/Looking in (2nded.) New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Maslow, A.

(1970). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper& Row.

Afolayan, A.A. 1994. “Population” pp. 123-135.In Ibadan Region.Edited by in M.O. Filani, F.O. Akinola and C.O.

Ikporukpo. Ibadan. Rex Charles Publications.

Aldridge, A. And Levine, K. 2001. “Surveying the Social World Buckingham”.Open University Press.

Allison, Anne, 2006. MillenialMonsten: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination. Berkeley, CA: University of

Califonia press.

Alch, M. L. (2000). The echo-boom generation: a growing force in America society. The Futurist 34(5), 42-46.

Areola, O. 1994.“The Spatial Growth of Ibadan City and its impact on the rural Hinterland” pp. 99 in Ibadan Region.

Edited by M.O. Filani, F.O. Akintola and C.O. Ikporukpo Ibadan: Rex Charles Publication.

Aquilino W.S (1990). The likelihood of Parent-Adult child coresidence: Effects of family structure and parental

characteristics. Journal of marriage and the family, 52:104-19.

AyaIsumi, (2010) “Stay close to your grandparents at a distance” North Carolina state university.

Bryman, A. 2004.“Social Research Methods”. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chun-yi-chen, Marina Kobayashi, Liu Min-Oh: School of Design & Human- computer interaction institute Carnegie

Mellon University, 5000 forbes Ave, Pittburgh, PA 15213 ( Chunyic, Manhak, Imoh) @

Chu, R. J., (2010, August). How family support and Internet self-efficacy influence the effects of e-learning among

higher aged adults – Analyses of gender and age differences. Computers & Education 55(1), 255-264.

Retrieved November 7, 2010 from

Chun-yi-chen, Marina Kobayashi, Liu Min-Oh: School of Design & Human- computer interaction institute Carnegie

Mellon University, 5000 forbes Ave, Pittburgh, PA 15213 ( Chunyic, Manhak, Imoh) @

De Vito, J.A (1986). The communication handbook:a dictionary, New York: Harper & Row.

Dickinson, A., Hill, R.L. (2007). Keeping in touch: talking to older people about computers and communication.

Educational Gerontology, 33 (8).613-630.

DiMaggio, Paul.,EszterHargittai, W. Russell Neuman and John P. Robinson. 2001. “Social Implications of the

Internet.”Annual Review of Sociology.27:307-336. Retrieved February 27, 2012


Harwood, J. (2000). Communication media use in the grandparent-grandchild relationship. Journal of

Communication, 50 (4), 56-78.

Hermalin A.I (1990): Characteristics of children and intergenerational transfers in Taiwan. Paper read at the Annual

meeting of the Population Association of America. Denver Colorado, April 30- May, 1990.

Hunt, Donna M., "Technology and the grandparent-grandchild relationship : learning and interaction" (2012).Theses

and Dissertations. Paper 338.

Hutchinson, H., Mackay, W., Westerlund, B., Bederson, B., Druin, A., Plaisant, C., et al. (2003, April 5 - 10).

Technology Probes: Inspiring Design for and with Families. Paper presented at the CHI 2003, Ft Laurerdale,

Florida, USA.

Haralambos, M and Holborn, M. 2008 ”Sociology themes and perspectives”. London: HarperCollins Publishers


Kanayama, T. (2003).Ethnographic research on the experience of Japanese elderly people Online. New Media &

Society 5, (2), 267–288.

Kennedy Y.L.M, Smith, A., Wells A.T & Wellman, B. (2008) “ Networked families, Pew internet and American life

project (p. 44). Retrieved from /PPF/r/266/report-display.asp.

Keyton, J. (2011): Communication and organizational culture: A key to understanding work experience. Thousand

Oaks, CA: Sage

King-O’Riain Rebecca Chiyoko :Transconnective Space, Emotions and Skype: The Transnational Emotional

Practices of Mixed International Couples in the Republic of Ireland. National University of Ireland,

[email protected]

Lehtinen V, Näsänen J, Sarvas R. "A little silly and empty-headed": older adults' understandings of social networking

sites. Proceedings of the 23rd British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: Celebrating

People and Technology; Cambridge, United Kingdom: British Computer Society; 2009.

Lindley, S.E., Harper, R., and Sellen, A. “Designing for elders: Exploring the complexity of relationships in later life.”

BCS-HCI ’08.

Lindley, S.E., Shades of lightweight: Supporting crossgenerationalcommunication through home messaging.

Universal Access in the Information Society, (2011).

Madden, M. (2010). Older adults and social media.Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from (Accessed December 2011)

Mattew, S.H and Sprey, J. “The impact of divorce on grandparenthood: An exploratory study”. The Gerontologist

, 24(1), 41-47.

McMellon C and Schiffman L (2002) Cybersenior empowerment; How some older individuals are taking control of

their lives. Journal of Applied Gerontology,21 .

Mobile technology for children: Designing for interaction and learning copyright 2009, MK, Elsevier Inc. All right


Mesch, G. (2006) ‘Family characteristics and intergenerational conflicts over the internet’.Information,

Communication & Society 9(4): 473-495.

Mesch, G. S. (2006). Family Relations and the Internet: Exploring a Family Boundaries Approach. The Journal of

Family Communication, 6(2), 119-138.

Morrison, D. “Social media opens social world to elderly, disabled.” Wilmington Star News.January 26,

National Population Commission, 2010: “Census report in Nigeria”. Abuja: National Population Commission.

Olutayo, A.O and Akanle, O (2009). “Fast food in Ibadan: an emerging consumption pattern”.Africa. 79(2).207-226.

Olutayo, A.O and Akanle,O (2013) “Sociological theory for African student”.First edition 2013 pg 97 and 197-201.

Ogunremi G.O 1998. “An historical, cultural and socio economic study of an African city”.Cargo Press.

Orleans, M & Laney, M. (2000) Early adolescent social networks and computer use. Social Science Computer

Review 18: 56-72.

Olson, K., M. O’Brien, W. Rodgers & N. Charness. (2011). Diffusion of technology: Frequency of use for younger and

older adults. Ageing International, 36(1), 123-145.

Paying for senior care: understand your financial options for long term care copyright 2017.Company Registration No. 2350846

Pfeil, U., Arjan, R., and Zaphiris, P. (2009) Age differences in online social networking a study of user profiles and

the social capital divide among teenagers and older users in myspace. Computer in Human Behaviour 25


Sally West December 2015 “ later life in digital world”

Selwyn, N. The information aged: A qualitative study of older adults use of information and communications

technology. Jour of Aging Studies 18 (2004), 369–384.

Shi, Y. and G. Wang Eds. (2010). “status of end life care in chinese cities and implications on policies shangai”,

shangai technology and education press.

Short, G. (2009) "Grandma's On Facebook: New UAB Study Examines Benefit Of Internet Access,Social Media

Networking On Seniors' Health."Medical News Today: Health News. Sep19,


Silbak, A, &Tamme, V. (2013). “who introduced granny to facebook? An exploration of everyday family interaction in

coeb based communication environments”. Northern Lights, 11(1), 71-89.

Simonpietri, S. (2011). Social Media: Current Trends Among Children and Their Parents and Implications Regarding

Interpersonal Communication. Unpublished Master’s Thesis .Retrieved


(Accessed July 2012).

Sum, S., Mathews, R., Hughes, I., and Campbell, A. (2008) Internet use and loneliness in older adults.

Cyber Psychological Behaviour 11

Sunder S, Oeldorf-Hirsch A, Nussbaum J and Behr R: Retirees on facebook; can online social networking enhance

their health and wellness? In Proc of CHI (2011), 2287-2292.

T. Quadrello, H. Hurme. J. Menzinger, P. K. Smith, M Veisson S, Vidal S, Westerback (2005) “Grandparents use of

new communication technologies in a European perspective”. Published online: 27 September 2005, Springer-


The Pfeiffer library volume 25, 2nd edition. Copyright 198 Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer

Tsai-Hsuan Tsai, Hsien-TsungChang,andYi-Lun Ho (2016)Perceptions of a specific family communication

application among grandparents and grandchildren: an extension of the technology acceptance model.

PLoS One. 2016; 11(6): e0156680. Published online 2016 Jun 7. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156680 PMCID:


Valenti group of companies 2017, valenti international.

Valerie Barker (2012) “A generational comparison of social networking site use: the influence of age and social

identity”.San Diego State University Int’l. J. Aging and human development, vol. 74(2) 163-187, doi:

Tamme, Andra Siibak (2012) “Enhancing family cohesion through web-based communications: Analysis of online

communications practices in Estonian families”. Copyright © 2012 (VirgeTamme, AndraSiibak).Licensed under

the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd).Available at

WRVS (2012) ‘Loneliness amongst older people and the impact of family connection’. Registered charity 1015988 &

SC038924 WRVS, Beck Court, Cardiff Gate Business Park, Cardiff CF23 8RP © WRVS 2012 J9918Z

Wood and Salter (April 2016): Building companionship: how better designer can combat loneliness in later

life.Cummings J. N., Butler, B., Kraut, R. (2002).The quality of online social relationships. Communications of

the ACM, 45(7), 103-108.

Xie, B.(2007) Older Chinese, the internet, and well-being. Journal of Long Term Home Health Care, 8

Zickuhr, K. (2010). Generation 2010. Pew internet & American life project: Pew research center. Retrieved from generations and tech 10.pd


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.