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The most popular Internet services among over 65-year-olds

 March 20, 2014
By Javier Garcia

The Internet is no longer an alien concept to our seniors, it isn’t even unknown territory. The Internet is increasingly becoming a means of communication and source of knowledge for people over the age of 65, who are beginning to use it more and more frequently.

The digital divide continues to close thanks to several factors such as improved online services in different areas, the retirement of professionals who used technology in the latter years of their working lives, the influence of youngsters who use the Internet intensively, or the work of different organisations determined to promote its use.

Data from the latest report from the Spanish National Statistics Institute on this subject reveals interesting Internet habits in people aged between 65 and 74 years. In the last three months of 2013, citizens within this age range used the Internet more than any other means of communication. Thus the data suggests the need to stay in touch with other people and the desire to know what is going on around them. Indeed, the use of email (82.8{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8}), the latest news (66.8{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8}), telephone calls (22.3{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8}) and participation on social networking sites (28.5{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8}), are illustrative of this point.

Communication has always been one of Kwido’s fundamental pillars. In fact, it was this very need of the elderly which became the driving force behind the project our platform has become today: to keep in touch with loved ones and care professionals via videoconferencing, messages, alerts, images, videos and audio files.

People aged between 65 and 74 years also value the availability of information on any subject at anytime and anywhere. Hence, 56.4{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8} use the Internet to find information about health, 52.4{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8} about products and services and 47,8{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8} to search encyclopaedias or wikis. Nor should we overlook the importance of education, which is not exclusively an endeavour of the young. Indeed, 36.6{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8} of seniors dedicate part of their time on the Internet to matters related to education and searching for courses, although only 3.3{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8} actually do them online.

Among the many services available online, it is worth highlighting the extensive use of those related to tourism, accommodation and travel (51.8{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8}), and Internet banking (39.8{42375b4e2714ef72c5fc4d7e676c7408210af5bccbc5374aabaa9644cd347cc8}). On the other hand, perhaps due to distrust, lack of knowledge or poor accessibility, there is a certain reluctance to engage in fundamental areas such as social and political participation online. Despite being on the rise in other segments of the population, these matters are simply not jelling among our seniors.

Much progress is being made, but the digital divide still exits, especially among the most elderly. As a result, they are denied the possibility of benefiting from the many uses technology can provide. Hence, this is our challenge: to bring technology to seniors, as a vehicle for wellbeing and independence.