The Gap Between Older Adults and Millennials is Shrinking When it Comes to Key On-line Activities

Ever hear a healthcare executive say “our patients are older and don’t use the Internet”?  No doubt there are generational differences in on-line activities; however, the gap between how younger and older generations use the Internet is shrinking in a number key areas according to Pew Research Center’s Generations 2010.
A few key take-aways:
  • Millennials (those ages 18 – 33) are more likely to access the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone, and still surpass their elders online when it comes to use of social networking sites, instant messaging and online classifieds.
  • Internet users in Gen X (ages 34-45) and older cohorts are more likely than Millennials to visit government websites and get financial information online.
  • While the youngest generations are more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.
  • The biggest online trend: certain key internet activities are becoming more uniformly popular across all age groups. These include email, search engine use, seeking health information, getting news, buying products and on-line banking, among others.

Additionally, searching for health information, an activity that was once the primary domain of older adults, is now the third most popular online activity for all internet users 18 and older.

As for those older adults that “don’t use the internet”?

  • Nearly 80% of boomers are on-line
  • Over half – 58% – of adults 65 – 73 are logging on
  • And nearly 1 in 3 of people aged 74 and older are cyber-surfing

Click here to download a copy of the report.

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