Older adults and technology


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Research associate Kathryn Zickuhr discussed the Pew Research Center’s latest data on older adults and technology at JASA’s Seminar on Advocacy and Volunteering in New Landscapes in New York, NY.

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  • We’re the public opinion, “just the facts”, non-advocacy, non-policy part of the Pew universe.
  • As of January 2014, as many (or more) seniors own a tablet computer (25%) as a smartphone (18/22%, depending on survey)
    Among adults 80 and older, only 5% own a smartphone.

    Just 18% of seniors would feel comfortable learning to use a new device (like a tablet or smartphone) on their own.
    This only rises to 29% among seniors who already own one of these devices.
  • Among offline seniors:
    Just 5% say they would like to start using the internet or email.
    9% have used the internet in the past, but have since stopped for some reason.
    22% say that someone else in their household goes online

    Data from upcoming OATS/NYLS report (Horrigan):
    36% of online seniors have had either computer or internet training
    Those who had training are more likely to say internet has had bigger impact on their lives
  • Communication with family and friends most by email—almost half of online seniors use SNS, but almost all use email. Once online, 56% seniors say communicating with family and friends is “very important”. Fewer rank “trusting activities” such as managing finances, bargains, or community info as highly, though many also say they are important overall.
  • 56% say it would be “very hard” to give up the internet, more than say this about cable TV (47%), their cellphone (45%), or their landline phone (45%).
  • 88% of online seniors (51% of all seniors) use email;
    46% of online seniors (27% of all seniors) use social networking sites.
  • Older adults and technology

    1. 1. Older adults and technology Kathryn Zickuhr Research Associate, Pew Research Center’s Internet Project April 29, 2014 JASA – New York, NY @kzickuhr | @pewinternet | @pewresearch
    2. 2. April 29, 2014 2www.pewinternet.org About Pew Research Center Does not promote specific technologies or make policy recommendations pewresearch.org/internet @pewresearch (all topics) @pewinternet (internet & tech) Data in this talk based on nationally representative telephone surveys of U.S. adults
    3. 3. Most seniors own cell phones and computers, but mobile devices are still catching on 3www.pewinternet.org January 2014 data 78% 62% 22% 25% 92% 75% 55% 42% Cell phone Desktop/laptop Smartphone Tablet Seniors 65+ All adults 18+ April 29, 2014
    4. 4. www.pewinternet.org Older adults and the internet • 59% of adults ages 65+ use the internet • Once seniors are online, it becomes a regular part of their lives: • 71% go online every day • 82% go online at least weekly April 29, 2014
    5. 5. 5www.pewinternet.org September 2013 data 74 68 47 37 39 90 65-69 70-74 75-79 80+ < $30k /year $75k+ /year Among seniors, internet use varies by age and household income April 29, 2014
    6. 6. March 26, 2014 www.pewinternet.org Most offline seniors say they would need help if they wanted to go online in the future May 2013 - Among adults ages 65 and older who do not use the internet or email (n=214) Would need help 66% Don’t know/ refused (3%) Would not want to start (VOL.) 16% Know enough to do it on my own (13%)
    7. 7. March 26, 2014 www.pewinternet.org Data from upcoming OATS/NYLS report Top motivations for getting online: Among online seniors ages 65+ • 75% - Easier to communicate with family and friends • 58% - Shopping • 53% - Health information Fewer rank managing finances, finding bargains, or following community news as highly, though many say they are important overall.
    8. 8. www.pewinternet.org Data from upcoming OATS/NYLS report • Once online, 56% say it would be “very hard” to give up the internet • Value the internet most for communicating with family and friends, vs commerce or info However, email > social media (though SNS use is growing) April 29, 2014
    9. 9. www.pewinternet.org Most online seniors use email, though half now use SNS 88 51 46 27 Online seniors All seniors (including offline) Email Social networking sites April 29, 2014
    10. 10. 7/1/2014 www.pewinternet.org Among seniors who go online*, 56% would need help if they wanted to use social networking sites to connect with friends or family. *but do not currently use social networking sites September 2013 data
    11. 11. 7/1/2014 www.pewinternet.org Seniors who use social networking sites socialize more frequently with friends and family members— even when even after controlling for factors like age and income. September 2013 data
    12. 12. www.pewinternet.org Thank you! Kathryn Zickuhr Pew Research Center’s Internet Project kzickuhr@pewresearch.org twitter.com/kzickuhr More information: Older Adults and Technology Use http://pewinternet.org/2014/04/03/older-adults-and-technology-use/ Who’s Not Online and Why http://pewinternet.org/2013/09/25/whos-not-online-and-why/ April 29, 2014