Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Age in Place Wednesday

Each Wednesday, Laurie Orlov, tech industry veteran, writer, speaker, elder care advocate and Faculty Advisor for the Aging in Place Technology Department at Computer School for Seniors will be sharing her insightful research on how seniors can safely and successfully live independent lives in the home of their choice.

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Generations Online in 2009

By Sydney Jones, Research Assistant and Susannah Fox, Associate Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project
January 28, 2009

Contrary to the image of Generation Y as the "Net Generation," internet users in their twenties do not dominate every aspect of online life. Generation X is the most likely group to bank, shop and look for health information online. Boomers are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online. And even Silent Generation internet users are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).

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Internet use and email

The web continues to be populated largely by younger generations, as more than half of the adult internet population is between 18 and 44 years old. But larger percentages of older generations are online now than in the past and they are doing more activities online, according to the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project surveys taken from 2006-2008.

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The biggest increase in internet use since 2005 can be seen in the 70-75 year-old age group. While just over one-fourth (26%) of 70-75 year olds were online in 2005, 45% of that age group is currently online. Much as we watch demographic and age groups move up in "degrees of access" on our "thermometers,"1 we can probably expect to see these bars become more level as time goes on. For now, though, young people dominate the online population.Instant messaging, social networking, and blogging have gained ground as communications tools, but email remains the most popular online activity, particularly among older internet users. Fully 74% of internet users age 64 and older send and receive email, making email the most popular online activity for this age group. At the same time, email has lost some ground among teens; whereas 89% of teens said they used email in 2004, just 73% currently say they do.


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Older generations use the internet as a tool for research, shopping and banking

Compared with teens and Generation Y, older generations use the internet less for socializing and entertainment and more as a tool for information searches, emailing, and buying products. In particular, older internet users are significantly more likely than younger generations to look online for health information. Health questions drive internet users age 73 and older to the internet just as frequently as they drive Generation Y users, outpacing teens by a significant margin. Researching health information is the third most popular online activity with the most senior age group, after email and online search.

Internet users ages 33-72 are also significantly more likely than younger users to look online for religious information and they are more likely to visit government websites in search of information.

Generation X (internet users ages 33-44) continues to lead in online shopping. Fully 80% of Generation X internet users buy products online, compared with 71% of internet users ages 18-32. Interest in online shopping is significantly lower among the youngest and oldest groups; 38% of online teens buy products online, as do 56% of internet users ages 64-72 and 47% of internet users age 73 and older.

Generation X internet users have also maintained their edge in online banking, as they are significantly more likely than any other generation to do their banking online (67%). As Generation Y users grow older, however, they have become much more likely to bank online as well: The percentage of online Generation Y who do banking online rose from 38% in 2005 to 57% in 2008. There has been no significant growth among older generations when it comes to banking online.

1 comment:

Sage said...

I wish there were more seniors; I have a couple of friends who have computers but not doing to much with it. It's too bad because I would be lost without my computer or the internet.