Research finds some surprise results about older Australians using technology

The number of older Australians using social media and other technologies is "surging", according to the ABC.

If you listened to younger people or many parts of the media and society these days, you’d assume a lot of older Australians don’t use the Internet or social media.

But one would only need to look around here at SAS to know that’s not true at all.

And the result of some investigations by Griffith University has confirmed that.

According to ABC reports, research has found the number of older Australians using social media and technology to stay connected is “surging”.

One expert told the ABC that Australians aged 75 and older were showing the biggest increase in social media and technology use.

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“We are seeing something like a quadrupling of people using [technology] in recent years,” Griffith University socio-technology expert Dr David Tuffley said.

“Nowadays there’s something like 75 per cent of people in that demographic using technology almost every day.”



So, what are people over 60 doing on social media?

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Well, it’s as you might have expected – they’re overcoming social isolation

“They’re also using it to educate themselves — health matters for example. They’re accessing government services, doing online banking, even buying things off eBay,” Dr Tuffley told the ABC.

“Basically they’re doing everything that young people are doing, perhaps not to quite the same extent, but I don’t think it’ll be too long until they’re using it at the same rate.”

It’s seen a rise in older Australians teaching each other how to use technology, with many reportedly finding it easier to learn peer-to-peer than being taught by their tech-savvy younger relatives.

After all, wouldn’t you rather learn from a friend than your hashtag, selfie taking grandkids?

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And while the numbers are looking good for the over-60s, some believe there’s more that could be done to get older Australians connected online. 

Council on the Ageing SA chief executive Jane Mussared told the ABC she would like to see a big network of classes teaching older Australians how to use technology in the state.

She said older Australians were facing a number of barriers to using technology including the cost and a lack of access.


“So we need to pay attention to ways of people learning and one of the really effective ways of people learning is from their peers,” she said.

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“We will, through the budget submission process, be asking the State Government for extra support for people to become more digitally literate.”

Tell us, how often do you use social media? How many of your friends over 60 use social media?


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