Published On: Wed, Oct 3rd, 2018

How Seniors Started Loving The Internet

Seniors may have been slow to catch up on the online revolution, but they are now enthusiastically using the internet to educate, amuse, and entertain themselves and make their lives more meaningful.

According to our highly educated friends from MedAlertHelp, in 2000, the internet was largely a domain of the young and geeks. Just about 14% of seniors in the US were online then. Today, 66% of Americans above the age of 65 are online. In the 50-64 age bracket, that figure is as high as 87%.

For 78% of seniors, the internet allows easy access to information of personal interest, while 60% use it to stay up to date with policy and political issues. The internet is the most trustworthy source of news and information for 33% of the older people.

Public domain photo/OpenClipart via Wikimedia Commons

Communicating with family and friends has always been the number one reason for seniors to go online, and that continues to be the case today. But they are also harnessing the power of the internet for shopping, gaming, banking, checking out the weather, and looking up information regarding healthcare and medicines.

Reading or sending emails is the most popular online activity for 91% of users aged 60 and above. Using a search engine to get information about topics of interest comes next at 70%, followed by checking the weather report (61%), looking up news (58%), and doing online banking (55%).

Older people are also exploring online gaming and entertainment. About 54% of them watch online video, while 26% believe that playing games brings mental sharpness.

Figures from other developed countries also show that older people have embraced the convenience of online shopping. According to data by the Office for National Statistics, in Great Britain, the percentage of seniors aged 65 and above who go online for shopping has increased from 16% in 2008 to the current figure of 48%.
The number of older people in the US using hand-held devices has also shot up, with more than 90% of seniors in the 70-74 age group owning some kind of mobile device.

The internet has largely been a boon for the older people, but there are a few areas of concern. Policy-makers and tech companies need to do more to address them.

Perhaps the most serious of these is online harassment. Inability to access the internet because of health and physical conditions, a somewhat lukewarm response to social media, and skepticism about the benefits of the internet are some of the other challenges that need to be looked into when it comes to older people accessing the internet.

Curious to learn more fascinating facts about internet usage among seniors? Check out the infographic below for more information and figures.


Author: Josh Wardini

<The Elderly & The World Wide Web

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