Gen Yers aren't the only 'Net-savvy folk

Though it may not come as a surprise to many readers of Hot Hardware, the denizens of Gen Y, otherwise known as Millennials, are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to the 'Net.

A report released today by the Pew Internet & American Life Project (you can download the PDF, charts and all,
here) showed that, for example, no one banks, shops or seeks information about their health online more than Gen X.

More than half the adult population online are between 18 and 44 years old, firmly in the grips of Generations X and Y. But the age group with the biggest increase in Internet use since 2005 has been those aged 70-75 (they fall into the "Silent" and the "G.I." generations). The number leaped from 26 percent of people that age going online in 2005 to 45 percent now.

The biggest use of the Internet among all users, unsurprisingly, is e-mail. But fewer teens use e-mail today than in 2004 - a drop of 16 percentage points, from 89 percent of teens then to 73 percent now. That's probably because they're communicating more through social networks (think MySpace, Facebook, etc.), as well as through IM.

The younger users are reading and writing blogs, using social networking sites, watching videos, playing games and downloading music.

In fact, while e-mail is the most popular use of the Internet for those 64 and older, playing games is the No. 1 activity for those 12 to 17 years old. And they far outpace Gen Y in playing games - only half of Millennials play games online.

The main difference seems to be that the older users use the Internet as a resource - seeking out information, sharing information and purchasing items. They seek information on health, religion and government in greater numbers than their younger brethren.

Interestingly, 80 percent of Gen X Internet users shop online, while a relatively smaller (71 percent) of users aged 18 to 32 do. The percentages drop even more for Baby Boomers and older generations. And while more than two-thirds of Gen X users bank online and a considerably growing number of Millennials do as well (more than half  now, up quite a bit from a little more than a third in 2005), it seems the older generations prefer to just go to the bank to take care of business.

So, what do you think? Do these findings mesh with what you're seeing in everyday life?

Tags:  Internet