Young adults live up to their reputation as the online generation, but senior citizens are quietly becoming more active members of the digital world, according to a major study.
Highlights from the 2010 report by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project include:
Home broadband: 44 percent of people age 65 to 73 (at the time of the study), and 20 percent of those 74 and older had a broadband Internet connection at home. That compared to 66 percent for all adults, and a whopping 81 percent for "Millennials" age 18 to 33.
Online favorites: The two most popular activities for Internet users 65 to 73 were watching videos (44 percent) and using social network sites (34 percent). The top two favorites for users 74 and older were the same: videos (20 percent) and social network sites (16 percent).
The top favorites for all adults were the same, but at higher levels: videos (66 percent) and social network sites (61 percent).
Senior favorites: Visiting government websites and checking financial information were two online activities popular with older users. Among those 65 to 73, a total of 56 percent checked government sites and 44 percent searched for financial info, such as stock quotes or mortgage rates. Among people 74 and older, 41 percent checked government sites and 30 percent searched for money information.
Online basics: Among Internet users 65 to 73 and those 74 and older, a majority spent time on six activities. The six, starting with most popular, were: email, search engines, health information, news, product purchases and travel reservations.
Those six also engaged a majority of all adult Internet users, along with two other activities: using classified ads and listening to music.
Social networks: While younger adults are far more likely to use social network sites, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, older people are using those sites in quickly growing numbers.
Among Internet users 65 to 73, those who used social networks tripled from 11 percent in 2008 to 34 percent in 2010. For those 74 and older, usage quadrupled from 4 percent to 16 percent.
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