Technology is becoming less of a mystery for many older adults. For some, devices like tablets and smartphones, and services like the Skype video calling program, are becoming a part of everyday life.
In 2013, the Pew Research Center studied technology use and trends among Americans age 65 and older. Here are some of their findings.
• 59 percent of seniors said they go online—up six percentage points from the previous year.
• 77 percent of older adults have a mobile phone, up from 69 percent the previous year.
• 27 percent of seniors own a tablet, an e-book reader, or both. 18 percent own a smartphone.
• 79 percent of older adults who use the internet agree with the statement that “people without internet access are at a real disadvantage because of all the information they might be missing,” while 94 percent agree with the statement that “the internet makes it much easier to find information today than in the past.”
If you’ve been wanting to learn more about using your computer, tablet or smartphone, here are some ways to begin:
Ask for help. Ask a son, daughter, or grandchild to walk you through the steps for what you want to do. The Pew study found that only 18 percent of seniors feel comfortable learning to use a new device on their own—so you’re not alone!
Be patient. Don’t try to learn everything at once. Focus on a particular program or function — email, Facebook, Skype, texting, etc. —until you get the hang of it.
Worried about privacy? You’re right to be cautious, but don’t feel that going online will expose you completely. Never to give out sensitive information such as your bank account, credit card number, or Social Security information unless dealing with a trusted source, such as a legitimate shopping site like Amazon.com.