Rise of the social seniors confirmed in new report
Ofcom report reveals record numbers of older people are embracing smart and social technology
Charities are urged to ensure they’re using the right methods to attract the right audience after an Ofcom report revealed record numbers of older people are embracing smart and social technology.
Over a quarter of over-75s are using tablet computers, and half of online baby boomers have already taken to social media according to Ofcom’s annual Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes report, which reveals how people use, understand and feel about the media and communications they rely upon each day.
This year’s report shows striking growth in older people’s use of technology between 2015 and 2016. Baby boomers aged 65-74 are increasingly connected, with four in ten (39%) using a smartphone, up 11 percentage points in a year.
There has been a sharp rise in over-75s using tablets, from 15% to 27%. And the use of smartphones among this age group has nearly doubled, from 8% to 15%.
Nearly half (48%) of internet users aged 65-74 now have a social media profile. Among over 75s, the proportion with a profile has nearly doubled – from 19% to 41%.
Around nine in ten (87%) social seniors aged over 65 opt for a Facebook account, but a smaller proportion use WhatsApp (6%) and Instagram (1%).
But while 44% of over-75s go online, more than half do not, and most of these (86%) have no plans to do so.
While older internet users are increasingly active online, some older people lack online confidence. A fifth (20%) of people over 65 describe themselves as ‘not confident’ online, much higher than the average (7%).
One reason could be that many older users are new to the internet. Some 21% of internet users over-75 went online for the first time in the last five years – twice the wider average.
For those older internet users lacking confidence, this is particularly pronounced when managing personal data. Almost one in five internet users over 65 say that are ‘not at all confident’ about this.
And 16% of internet users over 55 said they ‘never’ consider the data or privacy implications when posting photos online – the largest proportion to say ‘never’ among all age groups.
Some older internet users were also unsure about sponsored links in search results. A quarter (27%) of search engine users aged over 75 said they were unsure, and less than half (46%) felt able to identify sponsored links.
Similarly, awareness of personalised advertising seems to be lower among some older users – with seven in ten (72%) over 75s, and six in ten (60%) 65-74s saying they were unaware of this type of advertising, compared to the average of 44%.