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The Over Sixty-Fives Stake Their Claim on the Internet



With every passing day, more and more Baby Boomers are crossing that mystical line labeled 65. It may only be 12 months older than 64, but culturally, those 12 months make a big difference.

As a nation, we’ve come to think of 65 as old, probably because of its standing as the legal retirement age. But honestly, how many people are actually retiring at 65? How many can afford to?

One thing is for sure, this generation’s 65, isn’t the same as the one before it. These sexagenarian’s are still getting things done and 53% of them are doing it on the internet.

According new data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, this is the first time usage in the over 65 group has crossed the 50% mark. And once they’re online, they stay there, with 70% saying they use the internet on a typical day.

Many seniors are going online for social networking. Pew says adoption has grown tremendously, up 150% from April 2009.

In Februrary 2012, 34% of internet users age 65 and older use social networking sites such as Facebook, and 18% do so on a typical day. Among all adult internet users, 66% use social networking sites (including 86% of those ages 18-29), with 48% of adult internet users making use of these sites on a typical day.

Even though Facebook usage is on the rise, email still rules. 86% of over 65’s use email and 48% say it’s part of their average day.

Where does the madness end? At 76. Here’s where we see the first big drop-off in internet usage with a number of only 34%.

When you realize that this generation grew up prior to mainstream computer usage, it’s a real testament to how the internet has changed our lives. It will be interesting to see how these numbers fluctuate when the kids who were born with an iPad in their crib reach 65.

Then they’ll be writing about how only people under 30 use beaming technology to travel, while the over 65’s prefer to travel the old fashioned way, by plane.