Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Penetration of Online by Age Generation

The age penetration of the internet and the online behaviours by age reveals some interesting new developments.

A report by the Pew Research Centre's Kathryn Zickuhr revealed radical new developments in the online behaviours by age group, particularly the older generations with the fastest growth in the uptake of social network sites - for users aged 74 or older social network usage has quadrupled from 2008 to 2010 from 4% to 16%.

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Older Boomers (56-64 years) showed the biggest growth moving from 9% right up to 43%! One of the possible reasons is that social network sites allow users to reconnect with friends from the past, find supporting communities to deal with health problems or connect with younger generations. Same pattern with online video, overall it has moved from 52 to 66%, but Older Boomers moved from 30 to 55%.

Milliennials (those aged 18-33) remain the most active with 83% usage, and a segment of internet users more likely to access the internet wirelessly with a laptop or mobile phone.

However, internet users in Gen X (those aged 34-45) and older cohorts are more likely than Millennials to engage in several online activities (including government and financial websites). Another interesting area is the decline in blogging which for 12-17 year olds has moved from 28% to 14% from 2006 to 2009. The older generations however have increased their uptake.

The report by the Joan Ganz Cooney Centre at Sesame Workshop found 80% children aged 0 to 5 went online at least once a week, 25% of children aged 3 go online daily, increasing to 50% by 5, and 80% by 8 years old.

Children aged 5 to 9 average about 28 minutes online daily, children 8 to 10 spent about 46 minutes on a computer every day, including playing games online. Children begin to extend their media habits deeper into the digital realm at the ages of 7 to 9. The shift is evident in video game uptake. 50% play at 6, rising to 70% at 8. These observations make sense considering the developmental changes occurring in most children around ages 7 and 8. This is a period when children are honing their fine-motor skills and can more easily manipulate small keys, gadgets, and controllers.

Once children get to 7 and 8 years, they are able to focus on activities for longer stretches of time, and their memory, logical reasoning, and problem-solving skills sharpen. Children at this age can also apply their literacy skills to operate or communicate with digital media (e.g., via Internet searching or texting). Children at this age are also starting to form stronger, more complex relationships outside the family, especially with same-sex peers, and showing more concern about group acceptance.

Peer acceptance may be an important reason why music use jumps, as children look to share popular culture with their friends. And video games are a social context for many children, encouraging cooperation and competition. They also begin to need - and want - some alone time for activities that do not require parental support.

The Penetration of Online by Age Generation

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