COVID restrictions are pushing seniors online: aka ideas for Mother’s Day!

AARP reports

The pandemic might be the bridge to close the generational tech divide as older adults flocked to adopt technology in 2020. Usage increased across the technological spectrum, according to AARP’s annual technology survey. Older adults are streaming movies and TV shows, video-chatting with loved ones and colleagues, and buying new smart devices, such as TVs, phones, watches, tablets, home assistants, and home security.

With social distancing restricting social interaction, adults 50 and older not only snatched up new devices, but also were more likely to use them daily. They purchased more smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, and wearables, and audio devices such as earbuds and headsets.

Barriers weren’t completely eliminated, however. Older adults cited cost, knowledge gaps, and privacy concerns as top reasons they may be hesitant to adopt technology. More than half (54%) admitted they want a better grasp of the devices they’ve acquired, while more than one in three (37%) said they lacked confidence when using the technology that has otherwise become so much more prevalent in their lives.

I wanted to post this in time to help out with some gift ideas for mom. Gadgets are now on the table. If your mom doesn’t have a tablet now might be a good time – looks like that demographic likes them…

Adults 70-plus have a particular fondness for tablets, with more than half (53%) owning one, up from 40% in 2019. These tablets aren’t just sitting on a coffee table gathering dust: 69% of those 70-plus said they use their tablets daily.

Or even better, get vaccinated and go visit to provide a little tech support. Moms (dads, grandparents, aunties, that neighbor who made you cookies…) like you see you and many of them could use the help…

Beyond infrastructure, many still grapple with questions on how to use a device as well as how to protect their privacy. Approximately 44% of older adults are not confident that what they do online remains private, and more than half are not confident the information they give to or receive from their smart home assistant stays private.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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