More Than Half of Seniors Now Use the Web

If half of seniors are using the web, then what about the other half? With so much information moving to the internet instead of through other traditional means, without such technology, independence can become limited. With smart phones, people can now access public transportation information very quickly without having to worry about readability due to small type. A real life example in the report below from shows how this lack of access has hindered an older woman who does utilize public transportation. Also, with the internet becoming the go to place for most American’s to find their news, print publications are suffering, and shutting down. For half of the senior population, newspapers delivered to their home may be a real lifeline to the world, and without them could cause further isolation. As a society, it is important to keep our elderly generation connected to what is going on in the world around them.

Report: More than half of seniors now use the Web

(CNN) — It’s looking like the digital divide may have less gray hair than it used to — but it’s still a big issue for U.S. seniors.

According to new research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, for the first time more than half (53%) of Americans age 65 or older now use the Internet or e-mail.

Also, most Internet-using seniors have made a daily habit of going online; Pew noted that 70% of them access the Internet on a typical day.

E-mail is especially popular with Internet-using seniors. Nearly half of them use e-mail on a typical day. But social networking sites, which are accessed via the Web or apps, are far less popular: Just 34% of seniors use these at all, and only 18% on a typical day.

Looked at differently, those numbers mean that nearly two-thirds of seniors still either don’t go online at all or don’t do so on most days.

Seniors also are especially lagging in their adoption of Internet-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. While cell phone ownership overall has risen sharply among seniors (69% now have a cell phone, up from 57% a year ago), Pew notes that just 10% of U.S. seniors own a smartphone. Also, only 11% own an e-reader, and 8% own a tablet.

Only 39% of seniors have broadband at home. This means a substantial number of seniors access the Internet only from shared or public computers (such as at libraries, Internet cafes or senior centers), or by bringing a laptop to a location with open Wi-Fi. Just under one-third of U.S. seniors own a laptop computer, Pew found.

Meanwhile, the Internet has become a key tool for accessing news, information and services that affect or can benefit seniors’ lives daily. And mobile access to online information and services could be particularly helpful to seniors.

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