Warning: Don’t be surprised to find a “friend” request from Grandma and Grandpa in your Facebook inbox this holiday season. The fastest growth on social networking sites like Facebook has come from the G.I. generation, those aged 74 or older, according to new research from the Pew Research Center.
Millennials, those aged 18-33, are still more likely to use social networks, but the fastest growth has come from their elderly counterparts, the G.I. generation, among whom social networking has quadrupled since 2008.
Pew’s report, titled “Generations 2010,” found that, despite the gains in social networking, those aged 74 and older still lag behind the rest of the generations in overall Web usage, with only 30% using the Internet, compared to the 79% rate across the general population.
Millenials also still remain more likely to access the Internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone. They also beat their elders online when it comes to communication and entertainment, such as visiting social networking websites, instant messaging, reading blogs and playing online games.
Less surprising is where Pew study found the middle generation, or Generation X, age 34-45, landing online. They engage in visiting government websites and checking their financial information more than do the youngest adults.
But they have some fun too. The percentage of all adult Internet users who watch video online jumped 14 points in the past two years as well.
Also not surprising is that most Web users are logging on for two things: email and search. 94% of all Web users use the Internet to check email and 87% to search for information.
One of the few areas where Pew found a decrease in popularity for any age group was blogging.
Blog use among online teens decreased by half compared to 2006, and also saw a more moderate deline among the Millennial generation, a development that could be related to the rising popularity of social networking websites, the study noted.