Baby Boomers and the Internet
At a reporter’s request, we took a special look at those ages 38-56 and compared them to those ages 18-29 and those 65 and older. The easiest comparison is the one between online Boomers and online Seniors. Online Boomers are more likely to have done almost everything online more than online Seniors and Boomers are more likely to log on daily, more likely to spend more time online and more likely to cite positive results from their Internet use.
One other major point about Boomers and Seniors is that as Baby Boomers age, they will replace the older Americans who are most resistant to going online. Thus, eventually, the most persistent and intractable “digital divide” that we see now (the one related to generational differences in use of the Internet) will diminish.
Below, all the comparisons we cite compare Boomers those age 18-29 (let’s call them GenX). For starters, Boomers are less likely to be wired than GenXers: 64% of Boomers are online vs. 78% of GenX. But Boomers who are online are just as likely as wired GenXers to use the Internet from home and work.
The pattern of the different generational activities online is a familiar one: People do things online that match their passions and needs offline. To the extent there are natural generational differences in interest and need, those differences show up online. Boomers are more interested than GenXers in getting information and services related to such things as health, wealth, religion, and government.
Things that Boomers with Internet access are more likely to do than wired GenXers:
Things that Boomers with Internet access are less likely to do than wired GenXers:
Boomers with Internet access are just as likely as GenXers with Internet access to do the following things online: