The internet transformed the world unlike any invention before it. It allowed a person to instantly share data with anybody on their network. You were suddenly able to send photos, music, and videos to a friend in a distant country. Many different information sources became available, and everything was updated in real time. Furthermore, groups of people with common interests started forming circles that later became forums and social networks.
While tech-savvy developers commercialized the internet, and millennials were quick to adopt the new technology, generations such as baby boomers and seniors felt somewhat left out. The technology changed and developed really fast, and the graphic user interfaces of the first websites were not the most user friendly. Seniors often found technology intimidating and were frustrated by it.
However, it looks like the times have changed for the better, as recent statistics from the infographic below, put together by MedAlertHelp.org, show. Companies started developing simplified interfaces designed especially for older people, and the elderly received more encouragement to use the internet.
Only 14% of seniors used the internet in the year 2000, while in 2018, 87% of people aged 50–64 use the internet, and 66% of people who are 65 or older use it. It seems that the internet can really help older people, especially those who are unable to travel much due to medical reasons, connect with friends and family and get the latest news.
The way elderly people use the internet today mimics how younger generations mostly used it a few years ago, before smartphones and other mobile devices appeared. While millennials are more likely to spend time using a mobile device to watch videos or chat on social networks, seniors are more likely to browse the internet, looking for news and medical advice, or check their email from a desktop computer.
The most popular online activity for the elderly is communicating via email, at 90%, followed by using search engines to find information, at 70%, and checking weather and news, at 61% and 58% respectively. A small percentage of seniors use smartphones when compared to millennials, with numbers at 31% percent for people aged 75–79 years, and only 17% for people over 80.
It’s really exciting to explore the statistics of how the elderly use the internet, since it seems there’s a trend here and that older generations will soon start using mobile devices and apps in the same manner they started using desktop computers and browsers. Take a look at the infographic below to discover more details.