Generations on Line -- the nonprofit program for Internet literacy and Access for the elderly, estimates some 21 million people over 65 do not and will not ever use the Internet, unless we intervene.

  • Nearly half of older Americans (47%) over the age of 65 cannot use the Internet.
    Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project 2012

    (This contrasts with 15% of people over age 65 online in 2000; 22% in 2004)
  • For the elderly, Internet use may be an effective, low cost way to expand social interactions, reduce loneliness, get health information and treatment, and, consequently, reduce depression
    Source: Internet Use and Depression Among the Elderly - The Phoenix Center October 2009
  • Younger internet users are considerably more likely to conduct video calls. Some 29% of the internet users ages 18-29 have participated in video calls or chats or teleconferences, compared with 15% of internet users age 65 or older.
    Source: Pew Internet & American Life October 2010
  • Although the youngest generations are still significantly more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.
    Source: Generations Online - Pew Internet and American Life, December 2010
Why seniors don't go online (Generations on Line September 2010):
  • Fear of the computer can masquerade as disinterest. "I'll never be able to do this because it's too complicated" comes out as "I don't want it; I don't need it."

  • The biggest fear comes from their respect for tools - fear of breaking the computer, based on older technology "you can't unburn the toast" but you can reboot a computer.
    Source: Generations on Line Ten Years - Ten Lessons, September 2010

Spending time online reduces depression by 20 percent for senior citizens. In addition to the quality of life benefits, reducing the incidence of depression by widespread Internet use among older Americans could trim the nation's health care bill.
Source: Internet Use and Depression Among the Elderly - The Phoenix Center, October 2009



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