More older people accessing internet, thanks to tablets

old man on tablet

The number of people aged 65 and over accessing the internet has risen by more than a quarter in the past year, driven by a three-fold increase in the use of tablet computers to go online, new Ofcom research reveals.

This has helped to drive overall internet use up from 79% of adults in 2012 to 83% in 2013, according to Ofcom’s Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report.

The proportion of people aged over 65 that are accessing the web reached 42% in 2013, up nine percentage points from 33% in 2012, which is a 27% increase over the year. One reason for this is an increase in the use of tablet computers by older people aged 65-74 to go online, up from 5% in 2012 to 17% in 2013.

Nearly all adults under 35 years old now go online (98%). The increase in internet use was driven by three different age-groups: 25-34s (98%, up from 92% in 2012), 45-54s (91%, up from 84%), and, most notably, those over 65.

However, those over 65 are significantly less likely than all internet users to do a range of online activities, including banking online (35% versus 61%), watching or downloading TV programmes or films (25% versus 40%) and visiting social network sites or apps (30% versus 68%).


Computers, laptops or netbooks (78%) are still the most popular way to access the internet, but two-thirds of adults also use other devices, such as tablets or smartphones, to surf the web.

More than half of apps downloaded are ‘redundant’

Ofcom’s research found that while nearly half (48%) of mobile users had downloaded an app, almost half of the apps downloaded were not regularly used. On average, smartphone owners have 23 apps installed, but only 10 are used regularly.

Ofcom has produced an infographic showing a selection of data on apps.

Younger people more secure on social media

The report indicates that younger internet users (aged 16-24) appear more informed than all adult users about protecting their personal information on social media.

Mixed media use

The use of social networking sites remained stable at 66%, but people are using them more regularly. Sixty per cent of those with an active social media site profile visited these sites more than once a day in 2013, up from 50% in 2012.

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