Friday, January 30, 2009

PEW Internet Study: Online Generation Gap Narrowing

The PEW Internet and American Life project released a report this week on Generations Online in 2009. The study shows that while over half of the adult internet population is between 18 and 44 years old, larger percentages of older generations are online now than in the past, and they are doing more activities online, according to surveys taken from 2006-2008.

Contrary to the image of Generation Y (born between 1977-1990) as the "Net Generation," internet users in their 20s do not dominate every aspect of online life.

Among the key findings:

  • Generation X (born 1965-1976), is the most likely group to bank, shop, and look for health information online.
  • Boomers (born 1946 - 1964) are just as likely as Generation Y to make travel reservations online.
  • Silent Generation internet users (born 1937-1945) are competitive when it comes to email (although teens might point out that this is proof that email is for old people).

The most dramatic increase in internet use can be seen in the 70-75 year-old age group. While just over one-fourth (26%) of 70-75 year olds were online in 2005, 45% of that age group is currently online.

Photo by: max_thinks_sees


Bimmy the Bookish said...

"While just over one-fourth (26%) of 70-75 year olds were online in 2005, 45% of that age group is currently online."

Do you have any figures that show much time us baby boomers spend on the phone talking through why the computer isnt doing what they think it ought to do with the 70-75 year olds??

And I'm appalled to hear that email is apparently for old people!


Sharon E. Herbert said...

Don't be discouraged; when you're a teenager, anyone over 25 is "old" ;)

kristin said...

This is a great blog despite the fact that you don't get to post too often. And this is going to be an off-topic comment so I understand if you delete it/don't post it. I was wondering if you'd seen this and if you know if this sort of thing goes on in Canada. Here's is the link for the blog entry on the Centre for Democracy and Technology blog:

Sharon E. Herbert said...

Thanks Kristin! I hope when I have more spare time again in the spring that I'll be able to post more frequently.

I'm not aware of any digital signage with facial recognition software (or other types of privacy invasive enhancements) in Canada - yet - but, given the proliferation of digital signage around us, it won't be long.

The Globe and Mail had an in-depth article on this technology just last week:

I'd be interested in exploring what the stand of privacy associations is on these technologies. If I have some time, I'll do some research and post on it.

Thanks very much for commenting,


Sueblimely said...

It's wonderful that the boomers and older are taking to the net in such numbers. My sister who is in her 60's has not only taken to email but social networking too. She has reestablished contact with many old friends and relatives.

janel raelyn said...

It is good to hear that older people are now into computers. They won't be bored anymore....:)