Commentary

1 in 5 Grandparents Use Social Media, U.K. Study Finds

The stereotype of technology-averse elderly folks is gradually being demolished, or at least put in perspective, by new research showing a big increase in social media adoption in the geriatric set. One interesting finding from the U.K. (which is often, but not always, a good indicator for U.S. trends) shows that 22% of British grandparents belong to a social network.

Admittedly that's not quite as high as the general population, where social network use was estimated at 43% by ONS Opinions Survey in 2010, but it's still a respectable proportion -- and it could easily go up, considering that 68% of grandparents on social networks said they only joined in the last year, according to MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, which conducted the survey.

Among those who use a social network, 71% use Facebook, 34% have joined Twitter, and 9% use LinkedIn. Turning to their motivations, 51% said they joined a social network because family members encouraged them to, and 25% said they wanted to find old friends.  

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While there's no age limit on being a grandparent, it's probably safe to assume most of those surveyed are in the 60+ age range. With that in mind, these findings are broadly in agreement with U.S. studies -- for example a 2010 Pew survey showing that 26% of Internet users 65 and older were on social networks, up from 13% in 2009. The proportion of Internet users ages 50-64 who use social media increased from 25% to 47% over the same period.

In terms of frequency, Pew found that 20% of U.S. adult Internet users ages 50-64 said they use social networks on a typical day in 2010, up from 10% the year before, while the proportion of 65+ respondents reporting social media use in a typical day increased from 4% to 13% over the same period.

2 comments about "1 in 5 Grandparents Use Social Media, U.K. Study Finds".
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  1. Beth Neibert from Beth Neibert & Associates, LLC, June 23, 2011 at 6:55 p.m.

    I appreciate this article; it validates my perception and, sometimes, my clients whose niche demographics are of the older set need more than my word and experience to recognize the important of having their businesses active in social media sites, too. Thank you!

  2. Sandy Miller from Success Communications, June 24, 2011 at 1:30 a.m.

    I actually just wrote about this topic recently. Grandparents aren't always able to see thier family due to distance or schedules. If they want to be part of thier families lives, especially grandchildren, they have found that they can keep track of everyone on social media.

    It's one way to stay in contact and build a relationship with grandchildren.

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