InnovAge Blog

Myth Busting: Seniors and Technology

There are many common stereotypes in our society about seniors and technology. But many of our assumptions are not based in reality.

A recent study by Porter Novelli Styles surveyed 6,000 Americans to understand more about their habits surrounding technology. These were some of their most surprising results among those 61 and older:

Myth #1: Seniors don’t use social media

Actually, 55% of people ages 61 and older use social media. According to the survey, older adults are most active on Facebook compared to other social media platforms, and a majority report using the platform at least once a week.

While it’s true that only 4% of seniors are on Twitter, it’s also true that only 12% of all ages combined use Twitter. Thus, the number of older adults on Twitter is about what you would expect when compared to the rest of the population.

Myth #2: Seniors aren’t gamers

Seniors play both console video games and online games at higher rates than you might think. 32% of adults 61 and older play these games – which is the same percentage as players under 60. This shows that there’s no real difference in gaming habits by age.

Myth #3: Seniors only trust and rely on traditional media

While it’s true that older adults are more likely than their younger counterparts to read print media and watch television, many seniors get their information from online sources as well.

Interestingly, older adults report not having high trust in any of these sources, whether print, TV, or digital.

Myth #4: Seniors don’t own smartphones

Porter Novelli’s research found that 84% of older adults own a smartphone, and about 90% use it at least once a day.

Even in the oldest age bracket surveyed, smartphone usage is incredibly common among seniors.

Do the older adults in your life use social media, play games online, or have a smartphone? Tell us what you think about the results of this survey in the comments.

Learn more on the InnovAge blog about other issues facing seniors and caregivers, like the interplay of addiction and dementia and mental illness in older adults.

Porter Novelli Styles research – Spring 2016, sample of n=6,000 Americans conducted online using GfK’s KnowledgePanel. Conducted by Justin Greeves. Contact: Justin.greeves@porternovelli.com
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