Older Internet users embracing the online worldAge UK encouraging others to get online

21 September 2011

Older Internet users

Older people are increasingly surfing the web for information

Age UK is highlighting recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that many older people are very comfortable using technology like the Internet.

Older people (65 and over) are challenging youngsters when it comes to using technology, with four out of five (78%) older Internet users surfing the web to find out about goods and services.

The data - revealed during Age UK’s 'itea and biscuits week' (19-25 September) - shows a higher proportion of older Internet users (63%) compared to any other age group choose to download computer software such as video games, rather than relying on postal delivery.

In addition, over a third (34%) have downloaded music and films, just shy of people aged 16-24 (42%).

Digital divide persists

While many older Internet users are taking advantage of the array of benefits that the web has to offer, the gap between those older people who are offline and those who are online is growing. 

Age UK is running 'itea and biscuits week' to give people in later life the chance to use technology like the Internet and digital cameras, often for the first time. 

The Charity is aiming to help some of the 5.7 million plus people aged 65 and over who have never been online to start using technology. As well as encouraging people to attend training classes the Charity is calling on anyone who knows how to use technology to become a Digital Champion and help share their knowledge with an older person in their life.

This comes as recent stats from Ofcom show that over half of older people prefer to learn about digital technology from friends and family

Advantages of being online

Helena Herklots, services director at Age UK, said: 'We know that when people are online they are extremely active, in fact research shows that older people who are online spend more time surfing the web than other generations. 

'Therefore if you know how to use a computer, mobile phone or digital camera, why not teach an older person you know? It could make a huge difference to their life.'

Paul Davies, money expert at Which?, added: 'Many older people are happy to bank online today and there are advantages to be had in the form of market-beating savings rates. Day-to-day banking via the Internet also appeals to a large number of surfers and certainly delivers in terms of ease and convenience.' 

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