Computer Business Review

How tablets have boosted pensioners' internet usage

by Michael Moore| 29 April 2014

Devices such as iPads are getting more over-65s connected, Ofcom report finds.

The proliferation of tablet devices has helped spur a major increase in the number of older people going online, a new Ofcom report has found.

The media watchdog's Adults' Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014 has revealed that the number of people aged 65 and over accessing the internet has risen by more than a quarter in the past year, driven by a three-fold increase in the use of tablets to go online.

Tablet usage among older people (those aged 65-74) tripled from just 5% in 2012 to 17% in 2013. Overall, 42% of over-65s went online during 2013, up 9% from 33% in 2012 - a 27% increase over the year.

Overall, internet usage amongst adults reached 83% in 2013, up from 79% in 2012, the report found, with 98% of adults under the age of 35 going online at some point during the last year.

This growth was driven by three different age-groups: 25-34s (98%, up from 92% in 2012), 45-54s (91%, up from 84%), and, most notably, those over 65.

Unsurprisingly, younger people used the internet more than their elder counterparts, with those aged 16-24 spending more than an entire day a week (24 hours and 12 minutes) online.

In comparison, those aged over 65 spent an average of nine hours and 12 minutes surfing the web, although they also carried out a much smaller range of activities than younger people.

The survey found that on average the majority of over-65s primarily used the internet for just two main online activities - browsing websites and using emails, much less than the nine activities carried out by the majority of adult internet users, which include activities such as gaming or using work resources out of the office.

Instead, Ofcom found that the older generation were significantly less likely to use online banking (35% compared to 61%), watching or downloading TV programmes or films (25% vs 40%) and visiting social network sites or apps (30% vs 68%).

Although desktop computers, laptops and netbooks remain the most popular ways to access the internet (78%), almost a third of adults (30%) also use a tablet to get online, with 59% accessing the web via a smartphone.

 

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