Seniors embracing the Net

Over the past two to three years, older users have experienced one of the highest rates of increase in computer ownership and Internet usage, according to CyberPsychology & Behaviour, a journal published in the U.S. by Mary Ann Liebert Inc. Although older users still lag behind the younger generation in some areas, they have made remarkable strides in embracing the new technology.

Some studies now show that there is very little difference among age groups in use of e-mail, the most-utilized component of the Net. Older users (those over 75 years of age) are as likely to chat online as younger people (those under 25 years of age).

“The trend toward increasing usage of the Internet by the elderly will continue and accelerate as the baby boom generation matures,” says Mark D. Wiederhold, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P. and the journal’s Editor in Chief. “What’s so exciting about this development is the enormous potential that technology has to transform and enrich the lives of the elderly.”

According to the journal, the extent to which computers, the Internet and virtual reality applications can meet the needs of this demographic group has just recently beguto receive the attention it deserves.

One way in which technology can be used to enable “successful aging” is in developing and connecting communities of interest that help people stay engaged in life.