News Column

Older net users on rise due to tablets

April 30, 2014

Josie Clarke; Josie Clarke

The growing popularity of tablet computers has helped lead to a significant increase in the number of older people going online, according to new research.

The number of over-65s who use the web rose by more than a quarter in the past year, a trend helped by a three-fold growth in the use of tablet computers over the same period, Ofcom said.

Overall internet use increased from 79% of adults in 2012 to 83% in 2013, according to the regulator's Adults' Media Use and Attitudes Report. The proportion of those aged over 65 who are accessing the web reached 42% in 2013, up from 33% in 2012. One reason for this was an increase in the use of tablet computers by older people, up from 5% in 2012 to 17% in 2013.

UK adult internet users spend an estimated average of 16 hours and 54 minutes online each week, compared with an average nine hours and 12 minutes among those over 65.

However those over 65 are significantly less likely than all internet users to do a range of online activities, including banking online (35% versus 61%), watching or downloading TV programmes or films (25% versus 40%) and visiting social network sites or apps (30% versus 68%).

Use of tablet computers to access the internet among adults has almost doubled from 16% in 2012 to 30% in 2013, while 59% of people access the internet through a mobile phone.

The study also highlighted generational differences in preferences for the types of media consumed, with those aged 16 to 24 most likely to miss their smartphone and over 65s most likely to miss watching TV.

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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)

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