Seniors who regularly use the internet are much more likely to believe it’s a valuable resource, says Pew Research of its latest Internet Project findings, and younger, richer seniors tend to feel more positive toward online platforms.
Similar to Pringles’ former slogan, “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop,” seniors who start using the internet typically become hooked.
“Once online, most seniors make the internet a daily part of their lives and view it in a positive light,” says Pew. “…Seniors who do not currently go online, on the other hand, are much more divided when it comes to the benefits of technology.”
Nearly six in 10 seniors (59%) of seniors report using the internet, up from 53% in 2012. Online usage has increased sharply in the past six years: in May 2008, only 35% of seniors went online. Still, numbers are down compared to the 86% internet adoption rate among all adults.
Seniors may be less likely than the rest of the population to start using the internet, but once they do, it tends to become part of their daily routine. Of older adults who use the internet, 71% go online every day or almost every day. Another 11% go online three to five times a week.
A huge majority (94%) of online seniors agree that “the internet makes it much easier to find information today than in the past.”
While nearly half of non-users (48%) agree that people without internet access are at a disadvantage and a re missing out on important information, 35% of older adults who aren’t online disagree that they’re missing out.
Pew also noted a divergence among seniors and their technology use.
“Seniors, like any other demographic group, are not monolithic, and there are important distinctions in their tech adoption patterns, beginning with age itself,” the research center says.
The first group tends to include younger, more highly educated, or more affluent seniors with “relatively substantial” technology assets and a positive view toward the benefits of online platforms. The second group tends to be older, less affluent, and often with health or disability challenges. This group is largely disconnected both physically and psychologically from digital tools and services, says Pew.
“As the internet plays an increasingly central role in connecting Americans of all ages to news and information, government services, health resources, and opportunities for social support, these divisions are noteworthy—particularly for the many organizations and individual caregivers who serve the older adult population,” says Pew Research.
Read more about Older Adults & Technology Use.
Written by Alyssa Gerace