The technological divide between older and younger generations may be a thing of the past. AARP reported on recent integral research that shows the gap is shrinking. An online survey of 1,546 Americans age 50 and better shows that more and more of this population are entering the technology market; in fact by 2030, it is projected that 132 million older adults will spend about $84 billion on technology.
The technologies that older adults engage with the most are devices that help keep them in touch with friends and family. Although there is a stereotype that mostly younger individuals have the latest gadgets, the study found that 80 percent of older adults age 50 to 64 have smartphones, like the population at large. Adults over 64 were not far behind, with 65 percent smartphone ownership. However, older adults use other types of technology that enrich their lives outside of the social dimension. For example, half of them own a smart TV, with a whopping 9 million more expected to buy one soon. Technology like Amazon Alexa or Google Home are already being used in one in seven homes of older adults age 50 and up. With the help of technology, older adults are also enriching their lives through education. The AARP survey found that 23 percent are taking online classes for certificates or degrees. All of this indicates that older adults are becoming more comfortable with technology and are harnessing its vast powers for self-betterment.
It should be noted that privacy and security issues are still a concern for older adults, and technology does add to that burden. The survey found that one in five older adults indicate a low confidence in their safety online. Similarly, the survey found that 22 percent do not trust the federal government to keep their online data safe either. Surprisingly, social media is of the most trusted, with 65 percent of survey participants reporting trust for social media sites.
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Kakulla BN. “Older Americans’ Technology Usage Keeps Climbing.” AARP Research. https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/technology/info-2019/2019-technology-trends-older-americans.html. Accessed July 2, 2019.