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Technology: It's not just for youngsters

29 Feb 2016

There is a common perception that older generations are slow to understand and adopt new technology. However, a new survey by Spark shows New Zealanders’ over 55 are no different to anyone else when it comes to understanding and obsessing over technology.

The survey, which ran during November and December 2015 on the GrownUps website, was completed by 1,500 people over the age of 55.

More than 70% of respondents said they felt confident or very confident using technology, compared with only 2% saying they lacked confidence. The survey also discovered a very high rate of internet use amongst this group, with 90% saying they go online several times a day.

Of those surveyed, 68% own a smartphone, 62% own a tablet, and 88% use the internet several times a day.

Of those who use the internet for streaming or downloading, 83% use TV on demand, and when it comes to social media, 92% use Facebook. On top of this, 10% own a gaming device and 4% use the internet for dating.

Jason Paris, Spark CEO of home mobile and business, says the results aren’t surprising.

“Customers of all ages tell us that they love what technology does for them - and actually, as we grow older, there are many ways technology becomes even more essential in our lives.”

Together with GrownUps, Spark has also selected five tech-savvy seniors to form The Age Hackers - a group of over-60s charged with challenging stereotypes in this space by showing how they use technology in their daily lives, and encouraging people of all ages to do the same.

Paris says The Age Hackers are living proof of the fact that technology becomes more essential as we grow older.

“[The Age Hackers] are using their smartphones, tablets and laptops to stream music and TV, organise busy lives filled with activities, talk to grandchildren all over the world or stay in touch with family while they travel the world themselves.

“They’re an inspiration and a great example of how this generation is truly redefining what it means to ‘grow old’ – if that expression even applies to them at all!”

Paris said the idea of technology being difficult to use because of a person’s age is an archaic way of thinking:

“The crucial thing when it comes to learning how to use today’s technology is curiosity and a willingness to try things out, because the aim for developers in creating technology is to make it intuitive and easy to use. Our older customers have that curiosity in spades and are using technology in ways that really enhance their lives.”

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