Study: Gen-X, Seniors Closing Web Generation Gap

Dennis Faas's picture

For 'Millenials,' (individuals between the ages of 18 and 33), going online is as natural as brushing one's teeth or turning on the television. But a recent study finds that members of much older generational groups are rapidly catching up with their younger counterparts in terms of how much time they spend online.

According to findings from the Pew Research Center, Millenials are still by far the most likely generational group to use the Internet via laptops, desktops, smartphones, or tablet computers. They are also mostly likely to connect to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, use instant messaging services like MSN, and even online classifieds services, including Kijiji or Craigslist.

Millenials also spend an incredible amount of time online listening to music, playing video games, watching YouTube videos and reading blog posts. All in all, people 18 to 33 virtually live on the World Wide Web. (Source:

Generation X Narrowing the Gap

Up to this point, many of us had dismissed the Internet usage of Generation X (ages 34 to 45), largely because a significant percentage of these people grew up without the Internet. For them, learning to use web-based services is simply less natural, since it was not introduced in high school or university.

But the sheer ubiquity of the Internet is allowing Gen X-ers to catch up. Pew Research found that they are, in fact, now more likely than ever before to use the Internet for viewing government or banking websites. They're also participating in online activities previously dominated by Millenials.

"Even in areas that are still dominated by Millennials, older generations are making notable gains," Pew's researchers reported.

"Some of the areas that have seen the fastest rate of growth in recent years include older adults' participation in communication and entertainment activities online, especially in using social network sites such as Facebook." (Source:

Senior Social Networking Explodes 400% in Two Years

But it's not just Gen X-ers that are using the Internet more.

Web use by seniors has also increased dramatically in recent years. An estimated 16 per cent of the so-called G.I. Generation (those over the age of 74) use social networks like Facebook and Twitter. That's up an astounding 12 per cent from 2008, representing 400 per cent growth in just a two-year period.

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