back to article 50+ crowd are wolfing down tablets: Silver foxes are even migrating to the Twitters

As outlined by the recent surveys by UK comms watchdog Ofcom (PDF) and tech services company Kana, not only are older people using tablets, they are also using the internet more. It’s a dramatic rise, with Ofcom showing the number of people over 65 going online as 42 per cent compared with the previous year’s 33 per cent. The …

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Anonymous Coward

I refuse to believe that "porn" is not one of the top 20 reasons the silver foxes go online for.

Or is that "General browsing"?

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grey porn

It was in the Ofcom survey at 3%

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Anonymous Coward

Sex it is

For the young there is porn, which is all about the sex lives of the living (abet strangely moustached and/or shaved).

For the old there is genealogy, which is all about the sex lives of the long-departed (in a strange sort of way).

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Re: Sex it is

You underestimate your elders young sir. They are still alive and kicking.

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Do the 65+ group really use Twitter?

Having had to take a 90-year-old relative to the GP and then attempt to disappear into the furniture as she commented in a stentorian voice about another woman in the waiting room: "By, she's let herself go since she got divorced", I would think the 65+ group and Twitter are made for each other.

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It's enevitable really...

If you think about it the first wave of (modern) IT users will be starting to creep into this category, those of us who cut our teeth on Commodore PETs and Apple 2's. We're now moving to pensionable age, certainly can be Saga-louts.

As this generation moves into old age all of the clichés of age being a barrier to technological competence will become not true (if not actually redundant), and this is only going to accelerate from now on.

It won't be long before we see our first middle aged "digital natives" (someone born into the IT age).

Andrew (age 53 and counting)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's enevitable really...

The Apple II was on sale in the UK by about 1979. Many who joined the computer industry in the 1960s boom years were early adopters of such microcomputers - and have now been retired for several years.

At this instant I'm tearing out my last few remaining hairs circumventing the <strike>democra</strike>abstracted UI features of W7 - and debugging javascript that has worked happily for over a decade before IE10/11. Things get harder - if you are not just a passive consumer - and it's not my grey cells getting depleted either.

My godchildren are amazed I can survive without even a camera-phone - never mind a smartphone, whatsapp, snapChat, Kindle, or Tablet.

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There is also an issue with using capacitive displays ...

... as, as our fingers often become less conductive as we age.

My aged maternal relative is a case in point. Steve Jobs please look the other way. Mum - this stylus is for you

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Re: There is also an issue with using capacitive displays ...

But we also need gloves on, too.

So it's just a case of buying us oldies a pair of 'touchcreen' gloves for Xmas.

(something useful for a change)

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Re: There is also an issue with using capacitive displays ...

My 8? y/o granny contacts me via SMS on a manky old red hand me down Nokia circa y2k. And does so just fine in her gloves! A 5210 maybe? It works perfectly for her. Nice big easy ish to click buttons and a simple interface that she's built up muscle memory for. So what if it has a tiny green screen or it's a slow process to compose a message? She doesn't need or want broadband or to learn a new os/device. Pay as you go suits her fine, but the robbing swines at orange have moved her onto a "your top up expires" plan so she ends up spending far too much for what she gets.

IMHO the barrier to email etc for the (very) elderly is actually getting connected. Broadband is seen as an expensive luxury. They need an affordable "pay as you browse" WiFi option that enables SMSers to switch, especially as they are currently being unscrupulously ripped off by mobile providers. BT? Come on... She must have been a loyal customer for 60 odd years and her data footprint would be microscopic! I'd probably be looking at a home brew rasp pi project recreating the old Nokia GUI and buttons, only for gmail instead of SMS. Or an android tablet with buttons and a custom launcher.

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Alien

Makes sense really

486DX at 800 a pop make it a round G with a dot matrix printer chucked in.

Now for less than 200 a silver haired person can pick up a half decent tablet.

Makes perfect sense

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No surprise really

At 55 I'm no spring chicken and have worked in IT for 32 years. I have helped a significant number of older friends/relatives/friends-of-friends to get online over a good number of years. The one thing they have all struggled with is the complexity of your average PC or laptop. The 56k dialup days were the worst, but things have improved a lot since then. They have all felt uncomfortable moving from Windows XP to newer versions, and I think none of them would find it easy to grasp Windows 8's split personality.

Suddenly, with the advent of cheap and fast tablets, they are all realising it is what they wanted all along - simple browsing, email and the like. So one by one they are abandoning their old PCs and laptops. Unfortunately for me they assume I will take them as some kind of reward/payment for my training sessions when more often than not they are so old they have to go straight to the local tip!

Pentium four with a CD re-writer, XP Home, 120GB HDD and 512mb RAM anyone? One careful owner from new!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No surprise really

A friend took it into her mind to go from XP to W8 rather than the advised W7. First call of several - "where's the Start Menu - where's Control Panel - how do I do a Shut Down?" - "Why can't I do a System Backup to the Sky Drive? (on a slow ADSL) - can I borrow a DVD-rewriter please".

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Re: No surprise really

"simple browsing, email and the like"

I do 'support' for a couple who are, like me, 60.

I kept thier ancient XP machine going for a while and kept revitalising old laptops thrown out by younger people.

But they are still a bit scared of computers, refer to a browser as 'hotmail' (well, Outlook these days), were unaware of how a right-click menu changes with context, didn't know how easy things can be with the occasional right-click etc.

Recently they were after a new Desktop machine due to XP finally fading off in to the sunset.

I showed them they could get a laptop that was cheaper and more powerful and they could use a separate keyboard and mouse for familiarity.

I spent a while with thier new. W8 laptop doing the updates before it would pick up all the rest of the updates, binning MacAffee, sorting out start-up, loading a prog so I could make it look like XP and then took the old desktop HD and connected it up with a USB adaptor.

"You're not going to damage anything are you? Will the old machine still work once you've put the hard drive back? How will we find anything?"

I've given them a small challenge to now go through all the stuff I found scatttered liberally across the desktop machine (why do people cover the screen with effing folders?).

Then we can bin the old machine while keeping the HD.

They had the opportunity to pay extra for 'set up' from the suppliers -- I'm so glad I told them not to bother. As they are friends they get this free -- a set-up for them that they could understand takes ages to sort out. I've now also got tabs on Chrome for Outlook and one or two other sites so they don't think that you have to use Google all the time.

And this is for 60 year olds . . .

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Linux

Re: No surprise really

"Pentium four with a CD re-writer, XP Home, 120GB HDD and 512mb RAM anyone? One careful owner from new!"

Ideal for e.g. Lubuntu, AntiX, Slitaz or Crunchbang - hell, Puppy would fly on that thing!

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Anonymous Coward

re "and this is for 60 year olds"

Well, older than that, still working - Linux, Solaris, OS X, other UNIX, Windows *, Perl, Python, shell. I started relatively late too, though not too late to appreciate paper tape and punch cards. I'm not alone, though the eldest by a couple of years here.

I've spent a bit of time recently helping a nearly 60 year old woman with her ancient XP system (she's not daft, just not looked at the alternatives)), a 70 year old friend with his ancient PC he needs very little, just the nomenclature a bit awry, a mid-forties friend with upgrading his iMac (he and wife use if for serious work with prehistoric (do n't ask whence it came) video editing software and no back-up (now the wonders of TimeMachine, phew) and another, mid-thirties friend, also an iMac, who was still running Tiger and managed with some prompting to set up TimeCapsule after fast forwarding a release or two. The hardest to help was the mid-forties couple - neither are stupid - just that their emphasis is on other things, like satisfying work, children, sport and a good social life.

I've seen plenty of yoof and not far from yoof struggling (even if they do not realise it), just typing in or clicking on the magic a mate showed them as well as some who do know a thing or two.

My conclusion: for the over late-60's, it can be harder as they have lived most of their lives in a computer-sparse or computer-free world; but most do manage if they see a reason. For the rest, it depends upon aptitude, interest and need. A lot of people just do not need computers at home. They use hardly any of the capability of a mobile 'phone and less of an iPad or similar. Strangely, they live, eat and have their being rather successfully for the most part, more than can be said for an awful lot of "informatickers". They certainly have got more time for useful, social and active things.

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Is there a version of that image that one can read without a microscope?

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note to whoever posted this one please start using retina images @2x or and enven HTML5 charts

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Unhappy

Well I'm glad they told me that me and my chums use all this stuff

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Megaphone

In my day, sonny...

We entered our Facebook posts using IBM 029 keypunch machines, mailed them in, and eagerly waited for the monthly greenbar report to come back, and WE LOVED IT!

Loudspeaker because you whippersnappers need to speak UP.

Java, because that's the language I use, and Papa, because I turned 66 last week.

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Hmmph....I do not share my mobile phone!

I seriously doubt that 'many couples' share their mobile phones. I'm 63 and my hubby is 64 and we each have our own phone. My dad is 90 and my mom is 88, and they don't share mobile phones. (I don't even want to think about where my dad's phone has been - yuk!) I don't know anyone who regards this as anything but a personal device. It's mobile, so it goes where you go making it difficult to share. Yes, yes, I'm sure there are couples that do share a mobile phone, but 'many' El Reg? Says who?

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WTH - Who Are You Calling @Gramps?

I’m just rather bummed by the title of the article citing 50+ then going on to characterize us as “@gramps” and “silver foxes” and “oldies.” Those are my parents, not me. Although I am usually in bed by 2030, get up several times during the night, am on Twitter (@displacedtex) and Facebook, have a MS Surface Pro 2 and a Windows Phone (does having an iPad offset that?), so maybe….oh, hell. I am old.

Now, get off my lawn. I have to update my status.

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