Elderly people rapidly adapting to online social networks

Facebook is becoming massively popular amongst older people, claims new survey
Facebook is becoming massively popular amongst older people, claims new survey

Many of us 'young folk' like to think of ourselves as always-on, web-connected, tech-savvy movers and shakers, yet the popular conception that older generations are technophobic and fearful of computers may well be completely wrong, according to a new study.

The new report, courtesy of the Pew Internet & American Life Project claims that people 34 and older are increasingly likely to watch online video, use online classifieds, and use social networking sites such as Facebook.

Gran's on Facebook, dear

The over-74 demographic is, it would seem from the report's findings, adapting to these new forms of entertainment and communication faster than most.

"Millennials" (aged 18 to 33) are still the most likely group to participate in these activities, while "Gen X" (34 to 45-year-olds) are more likely to visit government sites or get financial information online, claims the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

When it comes to online retail, online banking, using the internet for news and downloading podcasts, the report (somewhat surprisingly) claims that these types of activities are "uniformly popular" among all age groups.

As far as social networking goes, the uptake amongst older age groups has been considerably faster between December 2008 and May 2010, says the report.

Online social network usage by the group named "Older Boomers" (aged between 55 and 64) went from 9 to 43 per cent during that period, with the over-74 "GI Generation," going from 4 to 16 per cent.

So it would seem that everybody's gran is now (almost) on Facebook!

Grans also like online video, it would seem, with considerably bigger gains relating to use of such services amongst the older age groups in the survey.

Via Ars Technica

Adam Hartley