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Planning Retirement Online



Too many of us still don’t
understand the internet

October 2017

young girl teaching older man on the computer

The Office for National Statistics and the communications regulator Ofcom have put together a recent report on older people and their use of the internet.

While more and more of us and using the internet, the report indicates that there are still 3.8 million people over the age of 65 who have never used this technology.  This rises to 59% for the over 75 age group, meaning over two million over 75s have never used the internet, missing out on skype, facetime and all those other excellent ways to keep in touch with family.

One fact which Laterlife found unexpected was that among the older age groups, women are less likely to use the internet than older men. 

Another interesting factor was that internet use increases with wealth. People living in the most deprived areas of the country are less likely to use the internet.

The statistics show that quite large numbers give up using the internet as they get older and of course some of this could be due to health issues or possibly after years of occasional trying, they are still finding it too difficult to fully master. 

However, older internet users also carry out a narrower range of activities online than their younger counterparts.  Ofcom asked people about their weekly use of the internet in 12 categories including communication, browsing, social media, entertainment and transactions.  In every category but one, the over 65s were far less likely to use the internet.  The one area that stood out was in health research where older users become far more active, and of course this is very understandable. However, the older generations were also a lot less likely to use the internet for entertainment. 

Older people who did not use the internet gave a wide range of reasons but the main reason for not wanting to use the internet was because it was not something they needed or wanted. An amazing three out of five of the non users aged 65 plus said they did not have internet access because they simply did not need it.

However, among this age group there was also increased concern about security including of course financial transactions but also from the simple sending of emails. Some felt the internet was all too difficult to use.

Those of us who regularly use the internet know how invaluable it is in almost every area of life. With loneliness among older people on the rise, it is vital that no one misses out on what is really an essential part of life today.

There are many courses to help older people get online and a call to a local computer specialist might point people in the right direction. Age UK have taken this on board and researched the best training courses for older people across the UK. You can find out more here.

Ofcom information is available here.

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