Baby Boomers Have Finally Joined the Internet Bandwagon
Many people think most baby boomers are technologically-impaired. Perhaps that's why one finds so many jokes online about grandpas and grandmas having a hard time with gadgets. These jokes are funny for sure, but are they also true?
The short answer would be... Not Really. According to the infographic crafted by MedAlertHelp, the average senior in 2018 is extremely comfortable using various electronic devices. Moreover, the most popular devices among them are smartphones, followed by laptops and desktop computers.
Besides learning how to use various electronic devices, the oldie-and-goodie folks have also made a bold and decisive foray into what was considered the exclusive domain of young people... the Internet.
Why Did This Turnaround Happen?
There are two main reasons why more and older adults are now venturing online:
They have realized that technology can make their lives so much easier The latest electronic devices are incredibly user-friendly
The Purpose of the Internet According to Seniors
It is estimated that 70% of Internet users among baby boomers use the Internet on a daily basis, and on average this age group spends 27 hours online per week.
Furthermore, the elderly spend much of their online time accessing information on personal interests. As a matter of fact, this is their primary reason for being online, with 78% of baby boomers using the Net for this activity.
The second most popular online activity among the elderly is to gather the latest information about political and policy issues. More than 30 percent of them consider the Internet as the most trusted source for news and other information.
People aged 60+ are also enjoying online games like never before, just like younger generations. However, for many older adults the real reason for playing games is not enjoyment or to pass the time, but to give their minds a workout. Maybe that's why brain games like Solitaire, Crosswords, Sudoku, and Chess are more popular among these people.
Older adults also use the Net to stay connected with their loved ones. Reports show that 75% of baby boomers use the Web to keep in touch with their friends and family, and 20% of them rely on email for this purpose.
Baby boomers have also infiltrated another realm of young people... social networking sites. Studies reveal that more than 50% of older adults follow an organization or group on social media sites.
Many seniors maintain accounts on social networking sites. 18% of people aged between 50 and 59 have a presence on Twitter and 13% on Instagram. Just like millennials and post-millennials, baby boomers use Facebook more frequently than other services for social networking. It is estimated that 61% of them have a Facebook account.
As a group, baby boomers have a significantly lower presence on Facebook than young people, but they are more willing to share content than their younger counterparts. According to a survey, compared to Gen Y and Gen Z, older adults are 19% more likely to share content on Facebook. This is probably because older people are much more comfortable in their skin and worry less about other people's opinions of themselves than younger people do.
The favorite daily online activity of people aged 60 and above is reading or sending emails. A whopping 91 percent of internet users among this age group check their emails every day. Surprisingly, the majority of them use smartphones to check their mailboxes.
Other activities which the elderly like to do online include finding information through Google or other search engines (70%), checking weather reports (61%), and getting the latest news (58%).
Why Would Seniors Avoid Using the Internet?
Even though baby boomers are more digitally connected nowadays than before, a sizeable number of them are still yet to step into the beautiful WWW world. There are many reasons for this, four most important being the following:
Nearly two in five older adults have a health condition that prevents them from doing everyday activities, including using computers and other similar devices.
Online bullies frequently target older adults. Reports show that no less than 22% of Americans aged 50+ have been bullied or harassed online. Fear of personal safety is one of the main reasons why many elderly like to stay away from the cyberspace.
According to a survey, more than 20% of baby boomers don't agree that the Internet can add much value to their lives.
Last but not the least, many seniors find learning new technologies challenging and hence are reluctant to use the Internet. As a matter of fact, a notable 77% of older internet users find navigating through the information highway challenging if someone is not around to guide them.