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Gallup poll shows increase in number of online seniors

November 14, 2013

Internet use has become a staple of everyday life for nearly everyone, from young children to members of the senior community, and a recent Gallup poll sheds light on just how much things have changed in the last 11 years. After surveying more than 1,000 adults, researchers found that approximately 65 percent of the over-65 population uses the Internet - up from just 33 percent the last time the poll was conducted in 2002.

While the results are indicative of the important role technology plays in senior living, researchers say that more seniors could be turned onto the Internet. Nearly one-third of older respondents said they were not active Internet users, and given the numerous benefits - from researching medication to staying connected to family and friends - there is room for improvement.

"Clearly the Internet has taken its place as a fixture in Americans' daily lives," the researchers wrote. "Almost nine in 10 Americans (87 percent) say they personally use the Internet, a jump from 69 percent 11 years ago. Still, certain pockets of Americans remain disconnected from this increasingly central portal for news, business, and communication."

With more seniors on the Internet, it raises the question of how they're spending their time when they're on the Web. In 2012, experts from the Pew Research Center sought to find out. According to Fox Business, outside of email, seniors largely use the Internet for news gathering. Mary Madden, a senior research specialist at Pew, said that social media has begun to play an increasingly larger role in the online lives of seniors. She also pointed to the fact that the number of seniors who own tablet computers has increased as of late.