A look at how senior citizens are using the latest in Internet technology. By Sandra Harris
Photo by Sooraj Shajahan
Recently, more people age 50 and over are joining online social networks. In fact, in just the past year, social networking by seniors has almost doubled – up from 22 percent to 42 percent. This equates to over 27 million people who are age 55 and older using this type of online interaction.
Due to the fact that more seniors in general are becoming more computer literate, they are also becoming much more comfortable in using the internet – and they are discovering the many amazing ways they can learn and interact.
The fact that more seniors are engaging in online activities, this particular population is also the reason behind more subscriptions for high speed internet access as well as more sales of computers and other related electronic gadgets.
Like the younger population, seniors are engaging in social media activities in order to connect – or to re-connect – with friends and acquaintances that they may have lost contact with over the years.
In addition, a lot of seniors have been introduced to social networking websites through their children. Because of this, these websites have the potential to not only help individuals connect with long lost friends, but also to communicate regularly with family members.
Other reasons for seniors spending more time on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, are for the purpose of running businesses. Today, with many older Americans staying more active than in the past, there are numerous opportunities for operating businesses from the comfort of their own home computer – and social media offers a great way to market their products or services.
Seniors are also finding that by engaging in social networking, they can better manage health issues that are common in their age category. By contributing to health forums online and / or subscribing to various blogs, seniors are better able to cope with serious illnesses in that they can communicate with others who are in the same or similar situations.
Although email is still primarily at the center of online social communications taken on by seniors, they are also spending a great deal of time supplementing their online interactions on social networking sites.
It has been stated by AARP that roughly a quarter of their members are using the Facebook site regularly – and that number is on the rise. In fact, the top online activities that are engaged in by those over age 60 include:
While young adults continue to be the most likely users of social media, the growth figures as a percentage of their overall population pale in comparison to that of recent gains made by older individuals. In fact, 20 percent of those who are between age 50 and 64 state that they use social networking websites on a daily basis, as do 13 percent of those who are age 65 and older. These numbers are expected to increase even further as more and more seniors become computer and internet savvy in the future.