Older Generations

Are More Tech Savvy

Than The Youth
     22 Dec 11


72% of over 55s claim they understand basic internet jargon compared to only 61% of youngsters

Despite 59% [1] of UK households owning internet enabled PCs, over a quarter [27%] are not familiar with terms such as bandwidth, wi-fi, cursor, router and download, reveals a Plusnet study today [2].

Dispelling the myth that it is youngsters who are most tech savvy of all, the research found it was those over 55 who scored well with jargon-busting, as 72% claim they understand all of the terms perfectly. Exactly 39% of 16-24 year olds did not have a clue about these expressions, which is much more than the national statistic of 27%.
Conducting the research revealed an assortment of strange habits, all which were much more common amongst the 25-34 age group:

  • Scrolling to the top of the web page so it’s ready for the next person to use [8%], compared to 3% of over 55s
  • Using Twitter as a search engine [7%], compared to 1% of over 55s
  • Attempting to use their normal screen as a touchscreen [7%], compared to less than 1% of over 55s
  • Attempting to attach a dongle to a TV aerial or object outside the house [8%], compared to 1% of over 55s
  • Emailed bank details to a bank/friend [3%], compared to less than 1% of over 55s.

Over a fifth [22%] of those aged over 55 have taken lessons on how to use the internet, compared to only 8% of 16-24 year olds, showing that it is not just the older generations who should make use of such classes. Despite widespread belief that the older generations aren’t too confident with technology, when it comes to the internet, they are on par or even more self-assured than those in the younger age brackets.

Sending emails and shopping online are the stronger areas for those aged over 55, with 96% and 91% claiming confidence with these activities, compared to 94% and 83% amongst 16-24 year olds respectively. Online bingo however is something that the younger generations are big on, much more so than the older generations, with 50% of those aged 16-24 confidently playing online compared to only 24% of those over 55.

Talking about the survey, Jamie Ford, CEO of Plusnet said: “It just goes to show that despite the growing online literacy in the UK, people are still unsure of certain key terms and uses for the Internet.  An interesting finding from our research is the increased knowledge of the over 55’s who have perhaps had to go out independently and source online learning through support sessions in their local community.”

“Although youngsters have greater exposure to the internet through their communication habits and means of education, it is the older audience who are making the effort to get to grips with the net, and therefore learning more about how it all works. Perhaps this Christmas it will be the grandparents’ turn to show the grandkids how to use their new gaming console or e-book!”

Astonishingly there are still 8.4 million [3] people in the UK who do not use the internet. Earlier this year Plusnet teamed up with UK online centres to help people the people of Sheffield grow confidence in browsing the net. Digital Champions of all ages from across the city, including Plusnet staff, volunteered to ensure the Internet first-timers had someone at hand to guide them. You can find out more about UK online centres or how to become a Digital Champion by visiting their website at http://www.ukonlinecentres.com/.

To take advantage of Plusnet’s easy hints and tips around how to make the most of your connection and the best remedies for when things aren’t working as they should be visit community.plus.net

1. Ofcom, June 2010
2. The survey was conducted by Opinion Matters between 11th and 15th November 2011, and included 1,096 respondents
3. Office of National Statistics data: Q3 2011 Internet users 2011 Q3 tables