Geezers are handling the Internet just fine, thank you
June 6, 2012
• New survey shows more than half of seniors are using Internet regularly
• ‘For most online seniors, Internet use is a daily fixture in their lives’
More than half (53 percent) of Americans who are 65 and older use the Internet or email, according to a new survey, released Wednesday, by the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.
Though these adults are still less likely than all other age groups to use the Internet, the latest data represent the first time that half of seniors are going online. After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are significant, says the Pew report.
As of February 2012, one third (34 percent) of Internet users age 65 and older use social networking sites such as Facebook, and 18 percent do so on a typical day. By comparison, email use continues to be the bedrock of online communications for seniors. As of August 2011, 86 percent of Internet users age 65 and older use email, with 48 percent doing so on a typical day.
“Looking at gadget ownership, we find that a growing share of seniors own a cell phone,” says the report. “Some 69 percent of adults ages 65 and older report that they have a mobile phone, up from 57 percent in May 2010. Even among those currently age 76 and older, 56 percent report owning a cell phone of some kind, up from 47 percent of this generation in 2010.”
Once online, most seniors make Internet use a regular part of their lives, the report says.
“For most online seniors, Internet use is a daily fixture in their lives. Among Internet users age 65 and older, 70 percent use the Internet on a typical day. Overall, 82 percent of all adult Internet users go online on an average day,” the report says.
But Internet usage is much less prevalent among members the so-called “G.I. Generation” -- adults who are currently age 76 and older -- than among other age groups, Pew’s research finds. As of April, Internet adoption among this group had only reached 34 percent, while home broadband use had inched up to 21 percent.
The results are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from March 15 to April 3, among a sample of 2,254 adults, age 18 and older. Telephone interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (1,351) and cell phone (903, including 410 without a landline phone). For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.