The internet is still a relatively new invention, with the birth of the internet as it’s more recognisable today occurring in the early nineties. As such, it’s fairly understandable that different generations use the internet in varying ways, with millennials and generation Z growing up surrounded by technology, whilst earlier generations knew and were comfortable with a time when it simply didn’t exist. Whilst everyone is of course different and has their own individual way of doing things, there are some strong trends linked to the way different generation use and consume the internet.
Smartphones vs Tablets
Generally speaking, smartphones tend to be much more popular with younger generations as a means of using the internet, whilst older generations tend to stick to tablets and desk top computers. In fact, 57% of baby boomers use tablets compared with only 35% of millennials. As the older generations tend not to be so hooked and attached to the internet and social media, they often don’t feel the need to closely rely on a device as easy portable as a smart phone. The youths of today, however, tend to view their smartphones as absolutely essential partners in life, providing access to social media, Google Maps, a camera and even our calendars, timetables and diaries.
Whilst generally it is the younger generations that enjoy playing video games such as Call Of Duty, Minecraft and The Legend Of Zelda, online and mobile games appear to be popular with people of all ages. This is probably because they are easy-going and often quite therapeutic, and thus ideal for anyone. Games such as Candy Crush, Bubble Shooter, and even online bingo and online casino games have become really popular with people of all age ranges. People are enjoying playing on the best slot sites, and other easy-going online games that offer you the potential to win cash prizes.
Social media is an even more recent invention than the internet itself, with the first ever social media website, known as Six Degrees, being launched in 1997. However, it wasn’t until later on that social media really became big, with Facebook being founded in 2004 and Instagram being launched in 2010. As such, it’s hardly surprising that social media usage tends to be much higher with younger generations who have grown up with it. Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok are especially popular with young people, whilst older generations tend to pick Facebook as their social media of choice. However, many older people don’t bother at all with social media, which is much more of a rarity with those who are under the age of thirty-five.
Online shopping is definitely a trend favoured by younger generations. Apparently, 67% of millennials prefer to shop online rather than in-store in the United States, with statistics similarly high in the UK and other western countries. This has led to the rise of online shopping sites such as ASOS and naturally the growth of big online companies like Amazon. On the other hand, the older generations generally prefer to go into a shop personally when picking out items and produce to buy. Both have significant benefits. Online shopping is of course more convenient for the vast majority of people, but actually going into a shop means you know exactly what you’re getting, is more social and helps to support local town centers.
Whilst older generations tend to get their news updates from more traditional sources like newspapers, the television and sometimes news apps, younger people tend to get their news update from social media, by liking news pages or from online friends who share and talk about the latest news stories. This way of consuming the news is far more convenient for most young people as they use social media anyway, but it does potentially lead to the risk of fake news stories being taken as true, which is a recent trend and a significant issue.
Picking up the phone, sending a letter via post, or pinging off an email are popular ways to keep in touch with friends and family members for the older generations. However, younger people tend to communicate almost exclusively through social media in this day and age, with even texting becoming less popular amongst a large percentage of millennials and generation Z. Communicating through social media is quicker and convenient for most young people, and is often cheaper than calling or sending a letter by post. However, it has resulted in many people from younger generations lacking confidence when it comes to speaking on the phone.
It’s pretty natural that different people of different ages would use the internet in varying ways. Whilst different generations don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to the internet, the key thing is that everyone uses it in a way that works best for them.