According to this morning's Daily Telegraph, over-50s in the UK now account for 53 percent of the overall increase in internet users. It seems that older people are becoming increasingly comfortable with the internet, encouraged by careful targeting of older consumers by commercial organisations and charities. The Nielsen Company, which conducted the research, says that twelve million people over 50 now use the internet in the UK. Sadly (and predictably), over-70s are being left out. Nearly 40 percent of British householders are not connected to the internet; and the research indicatesa majority of these are elderly. Age UK, the charity, estimates that 70 percent of over-65s have never been on the internet, and as a result end up paying more for utility bills and insurance, as well as missing out on the best savings accounts.
Only this month the new UK government asked Martha Lane Fox, founder of Lastminute.com, to become the country's "Digital Champion". Her task is to get ten million non-users connected to the internet. Of course, as she will be well aware, it's one thing to connect 'em but quite another to get older people to actually use the net. Fortunately, every year that goes by improves the situation. Within the next ten years most 70-year-olds will already have used the internet and will be more likely to continue surfing into the twilight yonder.
As a window on the world and as a means of social contact, the internet is unprecedented. How long before someone comes up with Wrinklebook.com?