Wary ‘silver surfers’ embrace social media

14 Jun


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Older people are embracing smartphones and social media even though many remain wary

Record numbers of older people are embracing social media and smart technology, according to a report from watchdog Ofcom.

But many of them remain wary of about using the internet, with a fifth of over-65s saying they are not confident online.

Despite that, four in 10 baby-boomers – aged 65 to 74 – use a smartphone.

And nearly half of net users in the same age group now have a social media profile.

About nine in 10 of those opt for a Facebook account, with only 6% choosing WhatsApp and 1% signing up for Instagram.

Meanwhile, most of the older age group – over-75s – say they have no plans to go online.

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Senior selfies are increasingly popping up on Facebook

Although older adults were increasingly connected, they still spent less than half the amount of time online that the younger generation did, the report found.

Over-65s spent 15 hours online each week, compared with 32 hours among the 16-24 age group.

When questioned about some of the big issues such as data privacy, a significant number (16%) of over-55s said they never considered it.

Less than half (46%) felt able to identify sponsored links in search engines, with only three in 10 over-75s and four in 10 65-74s aware of personalised advertising.

Alison Preston, head of media literacy at Ofcom, said: “The UK’s older generation is beginning to embrace smart technology, and using it to keep in touch with friends and family.

“But some older people lack confidence online, or struggle to navigate search results.

“Many are new to the internet, so we’d encourage people to help older friends or family who need support getting connected.”

The findings are from Ofcom’s annual adult media literacy report.

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