Seniors Benefit from Being Online
David Patrick Ryan, PhD, C.Psych
Director of Education, Regional
Geriatric Program of Toronto,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
There is an interesting paradox at the heart of Internet use by seniors which is: Although seniors are under-represented among Internet users, when they do get online, they become its most frequent users. Only 16% of seniors use the Internet, compared to the national average of 44%. Yet, once online, Canadian seniors use the Internet, on average, for 12 hours weekly. This is more than the average for teenagers (7 hours) and 80 minutes more than for any other age group. Given the emerging realization that the Internet expands the world of seniors, particularly disabled seniors, at a time when it would otherwise be contracting, and the developing evidence that computers and the Internet can be powerful tools for maintaining health and well-being, it is imperative that an attempt be made to reduce the digital divide amongst seniors.1
The Obstacles to Internet Use for Seniors
What are the obstacles to seniors' use of the Internet? Anxiety is one obstacle.