According to the Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes report from Ofcom, the number of older adults that are now using social tablets and smartphones is more than ever before. This report considers the use and understanding of technology by boomers and other seniors.

As stated in the report, there was a significant increase in the number of older people using technology between 2015 and 2016. Around 39% of seniors aged 65 to 74 used a smartphone. This shows an 11% increase within a single year.

This report also considers the use of tablets among grandparents that were 75 years and above. About 27% of them used tablets in 2016, compared to only 15% the previous year. The use of smartphones jumped to 15% from 8% within the same period.

Social media use, digital behavior, and social savviness among eLearning seniors are other important factors that the report sheds more light on. 

Digital Behavior of Older Adults

Although boomers spend significantly less time on the internet than younger people, it is worthwhile to note that lots of them are digitally connected now. Unlike people aged 16 to 24 that spend 32 hours online, boomers only use 15 hours on the internet weekly.

Furthermore, the experiences of senior citizens differed greatly. In 2016, 56% of adults felt they didn’t encounter any offensive or upsetting thing online.  Comparatively, 72% of those above 65 years said the same thing in the same year.

This may show the limitation of the use of the internet by senior citizens. As much as 51% of those 75 years and above were narrow internet users. This means they do only a few activities online.

Social Savviness of Older Adults

Despite the increase in the number of seniors that are active on the internet, many of them don’t have online confidence. This report reveals that 20% of boomers believe that they are not confident online, compared to an average of 7%. The lack of confidence is felt more when they have to manage personal information.

The reason could be that most of them are new internet users. About 21% of people aged 75 and above only started using the internet in the last few years.

Besides, 16% of boomers on the internet noted that they haven’t thought about data or privacy issues when sharing any photos online. This is larger than the average for all age groups.

A few seniors also had no idea of what sponsored links in search results are. While 27% of search engine users above 75 years were not certain of what links mean, 46% said they knew sponsored links.

Also, many of the senior citizens were not aware of personalized advertising. Among those aged 75 years and above, 72% didn’t know anything about personalized, compared to 60% of older adults aged 65 to 74. Notably, the average has been estimated to be 44%.

In view of this, older adults are already embracing the use of the internet as they are trying to stay in touch with their loved ones. Boomers can also check out this Ofcom’s report for more information.

This article is brought to you by eLearning for Seniors.

  • Jerrold Burden

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