With more than 900 million users, Facebook has attracted a vast demographic of individuals internationally to its site. Yet the fastest-growing group of users is not teenagers or their parents, but grandparents. According to results found by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 53 percent of Americans 65 or older are online, 34 percent of which are partaking in social networking, mainly on Facebook.
The study was headed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Researchers conducted phone interviews via landlines and cell phones and sampled 2,254 adults, using both English and Spanish.
For several years previously, the number of individuals 65 or older online was stagnant, but the Pew study has shown that now more than half of the American population's senior citizens are logging on to the Internet and checking their e-mail accounts.
The study concluded that 18 percent of senior citizens who use the Internet go on Facebook every day. While this number is still smaller than the percentage of senior citizens who use their computers daily for e-mail, 48 percent, the study demonstrates that the elderly are changing with the times and interested in learning new technology.
Those analyzing the study believe the elderly's ability to adapt and grasp new technology is due in part to their mobile phone usage, with 69 percent of individuals ages 65 and older reporting that they own mobile phones, a number that has increased by 12 percent from just last year.
The majority of those age 76 and older, 56 percent, affectionately known as the “G.I. Generation,” reported to owning a cell phone. However, only 34 percent of this generation reported to using the Internet, while only 21 percent have broadband Internet in their homes.
J-Connection: Facebook was founded by Jewish entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg.
Danielle Chazen is a regular contributor to Jspace's technology division. Danielle is a freelance reporter and technology event coordinator with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.