Social networks keep older people in touch
Published on 24 April 2013 11:30 AM
Increasing numbers of older people are turning to social networking, according to new research.
Figures show that the number of 55 to 64-year-old internet users creating a social network profile rose by almost half last year.
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom said this figure grew from 24% in 2011 to 35% in 2012.
Only last month, a report commissioned by the Associated Retirement Community Operators found that there is a 'loneliness epidemic' sweeping Britain - with the average person over 65 spending more than 100 days alone each year.
Ofcom's latest findings suggest that networks such as Facebook could be a way of alleviating such isolation.
Its report says that older people primarily use social networking as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family.
More than 6 in 10 (64%) of those aged over 55 who have a social network profile use it to contact friends and family they seldom see.
The report, which examined 2012 UK information, also found that a quarter of internet users aged 65 plus also started a social network profile last year.
55 - 64-year-olds increasingly using social media
Ofcom's latest Adult Media Uses And Attitudes report says that the 55-64 age-group is the only section with a 'significant increase' in social networking growth.
This is helping to offset smaller rates of growth across younger age groups.
Younger age-groups saw much less pronounced growth - probably because most of those users would be likely to have a social networking profile already.
It has been suggested that younger age groups may be falling out of love with social networking, fuelled by the rise in usage of alternative messaging and communications apps, such as Snapchat.
Far from Britons getting bored of social networking, however, Ofcom said that half of UK adults with a social network profile visit it more than once a day, up from a third (35%) who said they did so last year.
Nearly one in 10 (9%) is a particularly fanatical user, checking their profile over 10 times a day.
Ofcom said that nearly two-thirds (64%) of all the UK's adult internet users had a social networking presence last year - up from 59% in 2011.
Copyright Press Association 2013