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Older Adults Using Internet More, Traditional Media Less

U.S. online adults 55 years and older - the heaviest users of offline media - say the ability to access online content any time of the day (69.2 percent) and the greater accuracy of online information (67.5 percent) are the primary advantages of the internet versus TV, radio, magazines or newspapers, according to a Burst Media survey. Some 57.9 percent of respondents also cited "content I cannot find on television, radio, magazines or newspapers"; other attributes they pointed to include content that is up to date (45.6 percent), ability to access from many locations (33.7 percent), better/more focused content (32.8 percent).

Not surprisingly, then, 36.6 percent spend less time reading magazines now than a year ago; 44.1 percent spend less time reading newspapers; 44.0 percent spend less time listening to the radio; and 43.6 percent spend less time watching TV.

Some 60.7 percent say they use the internet more now than a year ago, and 65.5 percent say they are going to more websites (34.5 percent say "many more"). As to why they use the internet, 56.3 percent cite gathering information for personal needs; communicating with others (53.6 percent); surfing for news, sports and weather information (48.8 percent); and researching product information (43.0 percent) are among the top reasons for doing so.

Other uses of the internet by older adults include travel-related research and transactions (34.7 percent), education (33.0 percent), making online purchases (32.1 percent), personal finance (31.1 percent), work/business (26.8 percent), entertainment information (25.7 percent) and gaming (21.7 percent). The most significant gender gap is in gaming: 30.3 percent of women respondents say they use the internet for game playing, but only 15.8 percent of men 55 years and older say so.

Some 77.1 percent of older online adults use the internet to search for healthcare information, with 53.4 percent saying they seek information about specific symptoms and 50.2 percent seeking treatments for a specific illness.

They also use look for information concerning specific drugs or remedies (42.4 percent), nutrition (30.1 percent), vitamins and supplements (25.2 percent), health plans and coverage, including Medicare (21.8 percent), diet or weight-loss programs (20.4 percent), non-prescription/over-the-counter remedies (19.7 percent) and heath and beauty aids (12.3 percent).

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