If you live long enough, at some point new technology gets introduced that you have to learn how to use or otherwise fall behind the times. During the last century that meant learning how to use phone, record player, VCR, fax machine and more. More recently, this means learning how to use the internet, smartphones, and of course, Facebook.
How have US senior citizens fared in keeping up with all this more recent technological change? Let’s start with a look at internet use since 2000:
Source: Pew Internet
It’s pretty clear that younger generations are more likely to use the internet regularly. But senior citizens have been making considerable gains in technology adoption. In 2000, under 20% of Americans 65 and over used the internet. Ten years later, that percentage rose to over 40%.
Anyone who has been awkwardly friended on Facebook by their grandmother can agree that more seniors are now on social networks:
Source: Pew Research Center
Over 40% of senior citizens use social networking sites, mostly Facebook.
To what extent have instantly-available technologies taken over the lives of senior citizens? Smartphones could be a good proxy, since you can bring them and use them pretty much anywhere. Let’s take a look:
While a small percentage of smartphone users are seniors, it might be because they are more fond of tablets:
More adults over the age of 55 use tablets than do those in their late teens and early 20s. According to Adobe, this older age group (more than any other) uses tablets to check email and watch videos. Why use an iPhone when you have an iPad?
When they aren’t on their smartphones or their tablets, senior citizens might be using another tech product-- the Kindle:
The 60-69 age group constitutes the 3rd-highest proportion of all Kindle owners. While they are also the top consumers of traditional print newspapers, seniors are adapting quite well to changes in publishing.
So it seems like an old dog can learn new tricks, albeit a little slower than others. While by no means are they tech pioneers, seniors aren’t as technology-averse as you may think. But maybe that doesn’t apply to their choice of web browser-- over half of them still use Internet Explorer:
Source: INTOUCH Solutions