Where are all the online baby boomer men? 287



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Hello, baby boomer men? Where art thou? Can you hear our calls?

If you’re a regular reader of Starts at 60, you may have noticed that there are a lot more women than men on our website. According to the 2011 Census, there were 3 million people aged 65 years and older residing in Australia, 1.4 million men, and 1.6 million women. So there are definitely baby boomer men out there – but they’re not online.

It makes me wonder – why are so many more women using the internet and social media than men? Is it stubbornness? Or is it a sense of superiority? Or perhaps men secretly fear the online world?

What I really think is worrying is that there is a such a big world out there on the internet – you can connect with anyone who shares your interests, and most importantly, you don’t feel alone. We need to remember that men in their 60s and beyond are some of the most susceptible to depression and are at high risk of suicide. I have heard stories of male community members who feel they have no reason to live, and I have even have a close friend whose father committed suicide at age 70, just last year. Clearly, it is a very real problem.

Men over the age of 85 are more likely to die by suicide than Australians of any other age group, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And while most of our readers aren’t in their 80s, this is the reality of men’s later years if there isn’t an intervention – and the internet could be the answer.

The director of old age psychiatry at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, David Burke, told the ABC, “There’s a number of factors that lead to depression in old age. The biggest one is probably loss … through bereavement. People often lose their spouse and lose their friends. It has to do with loss of roles sometimes, with people retiring and not finding a new level of functioning in the community. It has to do with issues like social isolation and it’s also often related in old age to physical illness”.

Dr Burke said, “A significant number [of baby boomer men] do become depressed – we think somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent of people in old age suffer from depression at some time after the age of about 60 or 65”.

The idea that depressed men in their 60s and 70s are acting normally for someone of their age is incorrect – it is not normal to be depressed and suffering as you age. According to Brian Draper, Conjoint Professor of Psychiatry at UNSW, research consistently shows that for the majority of older people, late life is the life stage of greatest contentment and happiness.

And that is why it is important for baby boomer men to be online, and not just so they can play games and look at Facebook. It’s important because all of us here at Starts at 60 know just how uplifting it can be to know there’s someone on the other end – to know you’re not alone even if you live in a country town and have no living relatives.

So, we say to baby boomer women: get your husband, friends, brothers, uncles, cousins, sons and any other male online. Even if they can’t see the benefit straight away, they will thank you in the long run. Let’s connect over 60 men with the world so that they can enjoy life again.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.


Share your thoughts below: do you think there’s a lack of over 60 men online? Why or why not?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I’ve tried! I think he thinks it’s all “gossipy”! I read a lot of posts out to show it’s not,But I find even getting men to form groups like women do is a big deal. I don’t know what the answer is. Come on men give us an insight to this issue.

    4 REPLY
    • I’m a 67 Year old and I’m on the internet all the time, ever since I’ve had this app I’ve been reading all the post that’s been on and I find them very interesting.. It’s nice to read what people my age is writing.. Keep up the good work…

      1 REPLY
    • Note I comment on most issues that I feel qualified to but many are about women’s issues that I am not sure that a males comments would be considered appropriate.

  2. It became obvious right from the start that blokes were far out numbered by the girls on SAS. I have often commented on this and posted requests for blokes to have a go at it. But it seems to no avail. Whilst SAS is a website for both sexes the content is largely to do with women. This was not intentional and I suspect it came about because the majority of viewers are women.
    I have to say that the blokes I have told about SAS have the view that it is a site for women. In fact it is true that men in general shy away from using the internet as a means of interaction with others. Some of us like to interact on line but we are small in number. I do not know why this is. Opinions as to why it is will be many and varied and I suspect most opinions will be those of the fairer sex. Perhaps it shall remain as one of life’s little mysteries.

    1 REPLY
    • Maybe have a man write an article …. maybe a couple times a week…. on “Bloke” stuff” ??
      I know what is written now is not gender specific but the guys obviously feel that way.
      Just a thought…..

  3. Hmmmm it’s all about men’s preference for face to face contact. Some cultures have men in the later years sitting around at outdoor cafes talking to other men. This happens in many European and Middle Eastern, and Asian cultures but you don’t get it in the New World unless they have a strong culture in these male preferences.
    To get men to form groups online is like trying to herd cats. Some men feel comfortable on the Internet but many don’t and won’t go there. Technology for some baby boomers has passed them by even though it’s relatively easy if you want to be involved. Being in your comfort zone is a man’s preference after a lifetime of stress and work.
    I enjoy the contact on FB and have many friends around the world. My wife would prefer I’m not on the Internet so there’s a few thoughts …

    8 REPLY
    • Well thought out answer, I concur with you. I noticed my husband who held a high rank in the armed forces literally shudder when computers were introduced. Within two years he retired and hasn’t looked at one since, yet he maintains many friends through the RSL. and community sports.

    • Thank you for your thoughts Brian. I must say I have often wondered the same question when reading through the comments. Hadn’t thought about the ideas you have put forward which sound really feasible to me.

    • Thank you Brian great read. I too have wondered why there are so few older men on social media I wonder if men are more private, my husband shudders at the thought of it, but he does like using the computer, one of the big differences women can talk to anyone any where, even standing in a line waiting to be served.

    • I’m partial to talking to people in any situation but that’s just me. Some men look a little startled but most women are fine with a random man passing a comment while waiting in line.

    • I also think men are more private and don’t like to have all their information collected on a data base somewhere.
      They’re not about to tell the world every detail of their life and thoughts to strangers.
      Women don’t seem to mind doing this.

    • Brian Shennan… My husband and I are both on fb… him on his and me on mine and that’s the way we like it!

  4. Maybe they’re all in their sheds…alone or together.. lots seem to hate retirement and supermarket shopping with their wives..also with old age diseases..arthritis hypertension impotence heart problems diabetes etc and the scary daily news ‘re “boomers bullying” it’s fun to hide in a trashy novel


  6. My husband is very definitely online but chooses not to voice his opinions. He will like something but won’t comment.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes I think Sue is correct. Even if they have a comment about the subject, most won’t make comment…. especially guys who haven’t had “office” type jobs where they’re used to typing.

  7. My hubby won’t go on his own fb page but regularly looks through mine. He thinks it’s rubbish but occasionally asks me to tell a friend something from him.

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