Home News Heightened Use of Internet Observed in Older Population: ACMA Survey

Heightened Use of Internet Observed in Older Population: ACMA Survey

A survey from the Australian Communications and Media Authority revealed that while younger people are still leading the charge in the extent and types of online behaviors, there is a significant change in the online habits of those aged 65 and older.

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The use of the internet differs from person to person. Factors like age and lifestyle define their online behavior. Besides, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak changed people’s views towards data privacy. According to a survey from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), privacy is a major concern for 70% of Australians. 9 in 10 people chose “choice and control” over their personal information.

The ACMA released two reports recently, the first report provides the digital preferences of Australians aged 65 and above, and the second report provides a similar kind of data for Australians between 18 to 34 years old.

The survey analyzed how older people adapt to the digital world and their behavioral shifts towards the internet. It revealed that while younger individuals are still leading the charge in the extent and types of online behaviors, there is a significant change in the online habits of those aged 65 and older.

Key Findings

  • Older people increased their online activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for communication and entertainment.
  • Nearly, 93% of older people had internet access in their homes in June 2020, up from 68% in 2017.
  • On average, 26% of older people used 5 or more types of devices to go online in the 6 months to June 2020, compared to 6% in 2017.
  • 55% of older people used an app to communicate in the previous 6 months to June 2020, compared to 33% in 2019.
  • While young people are significantly more positive than older people about digital technology, and new developments in this space, 60% of them feel that computers and technology give them more control over their lives.
  • Almost 50% of young people used on average 5 or more types of devices to go online in the 6 months to June 2020, up from 30% in 2017.
  • Over 76% of young people used a smart device, with an average of 1.3 different types of smart devices.
  • Mobile phones are the most common device used by young people to access the internet (97%), followed by laptops (82%) and tablets (51%).

“Our engagement with technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace as the capability and capacity of online technology expand. While younger age groups are quick to embrace this change, for some older people whose internet journeys typically began later in life, keeping up has been more challenging,” the survey stated.

Biggest Privacy Risks for Australians

According to the 2020 Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy survey, the major privacy risks identified by Australians in 2020 include:

  • Identify theft and fraud (76%)
  • Data security and data breaches (61%)
  • Security threats from digital services, including social media sites (58%)
  • Threats from smartphone apps (49%)
  • Surveillance by foreign entities (35%) or Australian entities (26%)

In addition, 59% have encountered issues with how their personal information was handled in the past 12 months. The majority of problems are regarding unwanted marketing campaigns or companies collecting personal information without their consent.