The stereotype that the elderly cannot use, do not understand, or do not want to spend time online is widespread in our society. However, is it based on facts? It’s true that Millennials dominate Internet usage, but is there really that few Baby Boomers on the world wide web?
We don’t think so and we are about to prove it. Older people are accepting and using modern technologies in increasing numbers nowadays. They are realizing the benefits of learning how to use laptops, smartphones, and even dab in virtual reality.
Here are some facts that show you the reality of how the older generations in today’s society use the Internet.
How Many and How Much
The number of seniors on the Internet is actually quite high. Namely, at least 70% of people aged 65 and above spend some time online on a daily basis.
On average, the older generation spends around 27 hours online per week.
Medalerthelp.org, The Elderly & The World Wide Web
Moreover, seniors have realized the greatest benefit of the Internet—free access to unlimited information! Therefore, research shows that at least 82% of seniors use search engines to find information on topics of their interest.
Most Seniors Check the Weather
One of the main reasons why the elderly go online is to check the weather (around 66%). It is a well-known fact that the older you get the more sensitive you become to abrupt changes in weather conditions, so checking it online is a great way to stay prepared.
However, older people use the Internet for a host of other things as well. Some of the most common ones include shopping, information about food, games, coupons and discounts, and many other reasons.
Do the Elderly Communicate Via the Internet?
Another stereotype that we have about the older people around us is that they still rely on landlines to communicate with their friends and family. While that’s true for some, it’s not as widespread as some would think.
The three main means of communication on the Internet are email, messaging apps, and social media platforms. Around 75% of older people communicate with their family members using at least one messaging app. The two most common ones are FaceTime and Skype since these make it very easy to communicate with video and send images.
Which Devices Are Used the Most?
Even though we have come a long way in bringing the elderly and technology closer together, there is still room for improvement. For example, regular cell phones are still more common among older generations compared to smartphones. The higher you go on the age scale, the larger the gap between the usage of cell phones and smartphones becomes.
For example, 95% of people aged 65-69 use cell phones, whereas 59% use smartphones. However, 58% of those aged above 80 use cell phones, but only 17% use smartphones. It seems that smartphones are still intimidating for the elderly, but these trends will surely change very soon.
These Numbers Are Expected to Grow in the Future
The numbers related to the Internet and the elderly are very encouraging already. However, they are expected to grow faster in the near future. As the younger generations who already have a good command of modern technology grow old, the percentage of seniors who are technologically literate will grow as well.
For even more insight into this topic, check out the following infographic designed by Medalerthelp.