Baby Boomers are keeping up with new technology

Posted 20 November 2012 by in Technology

iconsTHUNDER BAY – We live in a world that is increasingly driven by technology. Many of the services that used to be handled in person are rapidly shifting to the Internet. Where reading the news was once done with a newsprint daily, or a weekly magazine that arrived in your mailbox, today it is increasingly the Internet that supplies news and information.

Over time the ‘land line’ telephone is being replaced by ‘wireless phones’. The cellular was replaced by the smart phone, and the smart phone is being replaced by the superphone.

Information is flowing at the speed of technology. Many of the long-held technologies of the past are being replaced. Shortwave radio, once a staple of getting information from far off lands has been replaced by the Internet. Using an App on your wireless phone can bring in radio from around the world. Watching video online is quickly becoming as popular as television.  Youtube as one example has over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month. The opportunity to share video online is seeing  72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Are you keeping up? If you are over the age of thirty you might often find keeping up takes extra effort. However, according to the latest data, you are.

Increasingly connected, Canada’s Baby Boomers are finding their footing in the digital age. According to a recent issue of the Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report, Canadian Boomers (89%) rival younger Canadians (99%) in their levels of Internet access and are slowly beginning to take up new media and devices.

Boomers are beginning to make up ground in adopting emergent technology, but there is a definite lag behind younger Canadians. The study, which delved into the Internet and technology-related behaviours and attitudes of Canadians aged 46 to 65 (those born in 1947 – 1966), found that online Baby Boomers have not yet embraced smartphones (29%) and the constant connectedness they provide to the same degree as that of younger Canadians (49%).

“It’s clear that Canada’s Baby Boomer generation is not taking to new media and technologies at the same rate or with the same commitment as the younger generation of Digital Natives,” says Dave Pierzchala, Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid. “However, we are seeing online Boomers becoming more comfortable as their adoption of new devices is trending upwards. Smartphone ownership among online Boomers has increased 11 percentage points since 2011 (was 18%), and they are now just as likely to own a tablet as younger Canadians (16% vs. 18%).”

Online Baby Boomers are not necessarily replacing familiar traditional technology, but they are certainly starting to supplement it by incorporating new channels and devices into the mix. So while television still rules the roost with 86% of online Boomers turning to TV for video consumption, including shows, movies, sports, news, etc., a surprising four-in-ten (43%) report that they watch video content via a computer on a weekly basis.

“Boomers are connected, but you have to know where to find them,” adds Pierzchala. “They are slowly starting to embrace new innovations although they trail significantly behind early adopting younger Canadians. Advertisers and retailers can reach Baby Boomers through digital campaigns but they shouldn’t expect it to resonate to the same degree as with the younger generation. For now traditional media channels continue to play a key role for this segment.”

There may be times when adults are looking for a teenager to figure out how to do things on their computers, smartphones and superphones. But fear not, for a young teen, they have never known anything different than the latest technology.

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