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Older Americans warm to new technology: survey
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 17, 2017


Americans over age 65 have stepped up their use of technology, with a growing number using the internet along with smartphones and other electronics, a survey showed Wednesday.

The Pew Research Center survey found 67 percent of US seniors now go online, with the vast majority of those using high-speed connections.

The survey found 42 percent of older adults used a smartphone in 2016 -- a fourfold increase from 2011, while one-third used tablets, and a similar number participated in social media.

"Older Americans have consistently been late adopters to new digital technology, but seniors are deepening their experiences with various forms of technology," said lead researcher Monica Anderson.

"And while older adults may face unique barriers to using and adopting new technologies, once seniors are online, they tend incorporate the internet and online activities into their everyday lives."

The survey suggests US seniors are feeling good about new technology rather than being dragged into it: more than half said technology has had a mostly positive impact on society.

Among those online, three out of four said they used the internet on a daily basis and nearly one in 10 were online almost constantly, Pew found.

The US has some 46 million adults 65 or older, accounting for some 15 percent of the total population. That percentage is expected to grow to 22 percent by 2050, according to census estimates.

The Pew survey noted that senior citizens still lagged the overall population in technology adoption: overall, around 90 percent of US adults use the internet, 77 percent have smartphones and 69 percent use social media.

The survey found that younger seniors -- those 65 to 69 -- are almost twice as likely as those ages 80 and older to say they ever go online or have broadband at home, and are four times as likely to use smartphones.

Technology use also was correlated with income: 87 percent of seniors earning $75,000 or more a year said they have home broadband, compared with just 27 percent those in households earnings $30,000 or less.

The survey found social media becoming an important platform for seniors to find news and information and connect with friends and family. It found 45 percent of adults 65 and up using social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, up from 27 percent in 2013.

The report was based on a survey of 3,015 US adults conducted from September through November 2016, with additional data from an earlier Pew survey conducted in March and April 2016.

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