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British seniors have taken to the internet

Britain’s older generations have caught on to the internet in a big way. All those age profiles suggesting web content should be geared towards the young are out-of-date according to the latest report of the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

Two thirds of 50-64-year-olds in Britain last year said they went online or accessed the internet to send and receive email. This is just one percentage point behind the leaders, Canada and the United States.

Just three years earlier three in ten Britons in this age group went on line. Growth in use by the older generations has far outstripped that among younger groups where usage was already much closer to saturation.

Among the over 64s we are still well behind the US and Canada with a quarter using the internet compared with a third across the Atlantic.

In the youngest group surveyed, the 18-29-year-olds, Britain (89%) is now ahead of the US (81%) and a little behind France and Canada among the seven countries in this part of the survey.

There is a mass of information in the report from the American Pew Research Center making historical comparisons between 13 countries.

What it clearly shows is that the internet is maturing and coming to more closely reflect the age profile of the country. No doubt, every newspaper and magazine that puts content on the web will be looking at these figures very closely.

And my hope, as one of the older age group, is an end to those patronising books on the internet for the over 50s.

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