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.
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