WIRED SENIORS DEVOTED TO THE INTERNET
A new report reveals that 15 percent of Americans aged 65 or older, or 4 million seniors, are fervent users of the Internet.
Steve Jones, University of Illinois at Chicago communication professor and department head, was part of a research team that collected and interpreted the findings of the report released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
"Getting health information, staying in touch with family and keeping active are the advantages of going online for senior citizens," said Jones, who is a senior research fellow at the Pew Internet Project. "Seniors who try the Internet realize these benefits very quickly."
Last year, the Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted 4,335 phone interviews with seniors across the nation. The project looked at the online behavior of 670 respondents who are Internet users in a report called "Wired Seniors: A Fervent Few, Inspired by Family Ties."
Seniors give their top five reasons for using the Internet as sending email, looking up hobby information, seeking financial information, reading the news and checking weather reports.
As a user group, they are marked by some specific characteristics. For example, many report that they are newcomers to the Internet who were coaxed into going online by their children or grandchildren. Once logged on, however, they become eager Internet users.
Wired seniors look like the early Internet users. About three of every five users are male. Users are more likely than their offline peers to be married, highly educated and enjoying relatively high retirement incomes.
Other findings include:
Findings from the report also show that the majority of older Americans are resistant to the Internet's allure:
"The image of Internet users as the 'young and wired' ought to be at least partially replaced by one of those who are 'older, wiser and wired,'" said Jones.
- UIC -
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