Think Grandma is too old to be updating her Facebook status daily?
It’s time to face the facts. Internet use among older adults is increasing at significantly high rates.
According to a Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project study, 70 percent of adults ages 50-64 had Internet access, and 56 percent had home broadband in December 2009.
Sending and reading e-mails remains the most popular use of Internet among older adults, with 60 percent of those ages 50-64 doing so. However, there are a few others reasons that age group goes online, according to the August 2010 report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “Older Adults and Social Media.”
The report found that on a daily basis, 42 percent of Internet users ages 50-64 look for news online, 22 percent do their banking on the Web and 6 percent use online classifieds.
There is another reason older adults use the Internet.
According to the 2010 report, social networking use among Internet users ages 50 and older has nearly doubled – from 22 percent to 42 percent over the past year.
Between April 2009 and May 2010, the number of Internet users ages 50-64 who said they use a social networking site like Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn increased by 88 percent.
A September 2009 survey found three primary reasons for older adult social networking. First, about half of all social networking users ages 50 and older had been contacted by someone from their past who had found them online. Second, many older adults living with chronic diseases are likely to reach out for support online. Lastly, social networking allows users to bridge generational gaps and share skills across these divides.
In addition to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, older adults are also making use of Twitter. On a typical day, 6 percent of online adults ages 50-64 use Twitter – a 5 percent increase from 2009.
Recognizing the growing use of Internet among older adults, the Philadelphia Senior Center, located at 509 South Broad Street, opened an Internet café on Monday.The GreenBean Internet Café will now provide Wi-Fi access to adults ages 55 and older with 10 laptops, two of which are portable and can be moved throughout the building. The opening of the Internet café was made possible by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.