Have you ever received a phone call from a grandmother who needed help with their Wi-Fi? Or were you the one who had to teach an elderly neighbor how to use Twitter?
You may believe that older people who use the internet do not have the same level of digital literacy as younger people who use the internet, but the facts might surprise you.
Baby boomers are more technically involved than most people give them credit for, despite the fact that they are less likely to watch viral videos or post memes.
Who Exactly Are the Baby Boomers?
Before we go into the “how,” let’s first establish who we are talking about. Anyone born between 1946 and 1964 is widely considered to be a member of the baby boomer generation, despite the fact that the time bounds for generational classifications might shift significantly depending on who you ask.
2011 was the year that saw the first baby boomers become eligible for retirement; now, their ages range anywhere from 55 to 73.
Even while they may be entitled for elder discounts, we shouldn’t underestimate how sophisticated they are when it comes to technology.
After all, influential figures in the world of technology such as Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Tim Berners-Lee are members of the baby boomer generation.
The generations that came after the baby boomers are known as Generation X and Generation Y, most often referred to as millennials.
The term “Gen X” refers to people who entered the world between the years 1965 and 1980, whereas “Gen Y” describes those who entered the world between 1981 and 1996.
Different Generations, Different Online Habits
Although baby boomers may not necessarily use the internet less often than other people, their behaviors may give the impression that they do so owing to the activities that they engage in on the internet.
According to Baby boomers internet usage stats found that 87 percent of persons between the ages of 50 and 64 accessed the internet in 2018, which was only around 10 percent less than the study’s two younger age groups (adults ages 18-29 and 30-49).
In point of fact, according to the findings of a research that was highlighted in Forbes, “boomers of all ages were more likely than any other age group to spend an hour or more every day online.”
According to the findings of the same survey, adults in the baby boomer generation are the least likely of all adult age groups to use social media.
The individuals who participated in the survey were asked to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “The number of followers, mentions, images, etc. you have on social media, the more successful or popular you are.”
Only approximately twenty percent of individuals between the ages of 25 and 34 had the same opinion, in contrast to the over fifty percent of adults between the ages of 55 and 64 who held the opposite view.
This demonstrates that even if some baby boomers participate in online social activities, they do not put the same level of importance on such activities that younger viewers do.
One of the numerous ways in which baby boomers use the internet differently from other people is their engagement with social media.
The graphic that follows provides an overview of some of the most typical ways that people use the internet. As can be seen, members of the baby boomer generation, members of Generation X, and millennials all have distinctive patterns of use.
Internet users of a more mature age may not watch as many viral videos or send as many instant messages as younger users, but they are still interested in sending emails, checking the weather, looking for news and political information, and doing their banking online.
Why the online behaviors of baby boomers are important?
Researchers from New York University and Princeton University published a paper in January detailing their findings from an investigation on the frequency of the spread of false news on Facebook.
Their study concentrated on the data collected from Facebook profiles during the 2016 presidential campaign in the United States, a time when concerns about the spread of false information were at an all-time high.
Researchers noted that their “most compelling and consistent conclusion is that older Americans were more inclined to share items from fake news domains.”
This was in spite of the fact that the findings indicated that the distribution of fake news was relatively uncommon.
It is interesting to note that the study that was mentioned earlier and featured in Forbes discovered that baby boomers were the age group that was the most concerned about their online security.
Although boomers did not report feeling completely safe while using the internet, the study found that they did have a limited number of security issues to report and that they were careful to limit the amount of personal information that they shared online.
This discovery stands in contrast to the findings of the research on fake news in that it demonstrates the unintended distribution of fictitious material, while the other finding demonstrates an attempt to protect security.
When analyzing the online behaviors of older consumers, it is important to take into account the technical era in which these customers came of age.
The majority of elderly people have some level of familiarity with TVs and computers, although they are less likely to have experience with more recent forms of technology, such as smartphones and tablets.
These intricate user interfaces are developed to provide assistance to a new generation of internet users that depend significantly on social networking platforms, online shopping, and other activities that are internet-based.
Because the digital world is always changing, it is essential to keep in mind how individuals of different generations engage with the many connections and gadgets at their disposal.
Statistics on the use of technology indicate that older audiences are still big users of the internet; nevertheless, their actions and habits do not parallel those of younger generations, especially with regard to their usage of social media.
Because of the emphasis placed on security, as well as the possibility of misunderstanding around protected sites, it is essential for internet users of all ages, even those who are older, to exercise caution with regard to the links they click on.