Hello, Grandma! Study Shows 53 Percent of Senior Citizens Are Online

By Devon Glenn 

Good news: a new study from Pew Research shows that 53 percent of adults age 65 and older have ventured online, sending emails even exploring social media sites like Facebook. Now we can hear all about how much we’ve grown while the ad bots show our grandparents pictures of sugary cereals our moms said we’re not allowed to have so they can stock up for the next time we visit.

Among seniors who use the Internet, 70 percent are online every day — only slightly less than the 82 percent of all adult Internet users who use the Web on a daily basis. Email was the most popular communication tool – 86 percent of Americans over 65 reported using it daily – but one in three also use social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

The rise in daily usage follows an increase in the number of Americans over 65 who own mobile phones. Seven in ten people over 65 have them, compared to 57 percent in 2010.

New sites have popped up to say hello to the growing population of oldies-but-goodies online.

“The 50+ demographic is adopting the web at an ever accelerating rate,” said Jeffrey Mahl, president of Grandparents.com in a statement, “which enhances our strategic marketing plan to grow in the online business with America’s greatest, most talented and¬†experienced national¬†resource – our grandparents! They have so much to give back.”

Healthcare is an especially popular topic. A study in 2009 suggested that video games like Wii Fit could give seniors a low-impact workout from the comfort of their own homes.

AARP, a membership organization and interest group for the over-50 crowd, recently launched an online tool for seniors to store and share their medical information with doctors, caretakers, and family members.

But not everyone has given in to progress. After age 75, Internet adoption rates are much lower at 34 percent. And only 21 percent of people in this age group have broadband connections at home.

It appears that today’s online elders were yesterday’s professionals who picked up a few skills at the office before they retired. The next generation of Internet users will likely be more active, but less productive, playing RetirementVille and posting artsy photos of their early bird specials that they took with enormous prescription Google glasses.

Check out more details from the Pew study here.

Image by Blaj Gabriel via Shutterstock.