Amidst reports of the newspaper industry struggling to survive, it's becoming more and more clear that people are increasingly turning to their smartphones for the news. In fact, a new study by the Pew Research Center has found that 85% of US adults check the news on mobile devices. Surprisingly, seniors constitute a sizable portion of this.
Of those aged 65 and up, 67% use their phones to check the news. In the past four years, this number has more than tripled. Despite older people often experiencing difficulty when adopting new technology, they seem to be catching on fairly quickly. They're accessing digital news on their smartphones in surprising numbers, indicating that most are becoming familiar with these technologically-advanced devices.
Adults aged 50 to 64 are also increasingly checking the news on their smartphones. Among this demographic, 79% use a mobile device to view the news. This is nearly twice as many 50 to 64 year-olds who are going on their phones as there were in 2013. While this age range was slightly younger when smartphones came out, they were still well into adulthood and thus generally experienced a learning curve when adapting to smartphones.
Interestingly, of those 65 and older, only 44% said they preferred mobile devices to desktops and laptops. So even if seniors like getting their news on their phone, there could be other factors at play. Factors that are forcing seniors to do so, like the loss of their local newspaper.
While computers may be easier to use, smartphones are always with us. Since 77% of US adults have smartphones, it makes sense that most people — including seniors — use their phones to stay updated. Based on this study, it's clear that older people are more technologically-savvy than they're often given credit for. The generational gap in technology proficiency appears to be shrinking. Who knows, maybe soon my grandmother will figure out how to FaceTime me back.