Monday, May 04, 2015

Seniors View Smartphones as Instruments of Freedom More than Young People

The Pew Research Center reports that older people see smartphones much more positively than younger people.

Almost 4/5ths of those 50 and over see smartphones as giving them freedom and allowing them to connect.

While almost 1/3rd of those under 50 see smartphones as a "leash" and "distracting".

Pew notes that far fewer older people use smartphones than younger people. While 85% of those under 30 have smartphones, only 27% of those 65 and older have smartphones.

Pew says that the difference in views may come from the fact that older people use smartphones for a much narrower range of activities than younger people.
. . . Younger adults tend to use their phones for a far wider range of purposes (especially social networking and multimedia content) and are much more likely to turn to their phone as a way to relieve boredom and to avoid others around them.
Older adults, by contrast, tend to use their phones for a narrower range of purposes – especially basic communication functions such as voice calling, texting and email. For young adults, smartphones are often the device through which they filter both the successes and annoyances of daily life – which could help explain why these users are more likely to report feeling emotions about their phone ranging from happy and grateful to frustrated or angry during a weeklong survey.
It also may have to do with seniors remembering what it was like when both communication and information sources were not readily at hand.

I remember when someone with a cell phone called for roadside assistance when our vehicle broke down. My dad had started to walk up the highway in what looked to be a miles long walk to try to find the nearest phone to call for assistance. A kind man with a cell phone pulled over, talked to my dad, and called AAA for him.

As an older person I see the internet as a marvel. I remember the days of going to the library and poring over encyclopedias, reference books, and the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature to find answers to questions that are now a snap. And "how to" information is especially accessible via youtube.

The only downside of cell phones and smart phones is that you are always on call. Unless, of course, you turn them off when you don't want to be disturbed, or only turn them on when you have a need for them. Heh.


MAX Redline said...

I remember when I bought my first, bricky cell-phone. We went camping up on the McKenzie that day. That night, it started pouring. So we tossed everything back in the ride and left.

Driving down the highway in a downpour, some idiot shot past us in his BMW. Shortly, we came upon the aftermath: he'd cut off a big lumber truck, which was now on its side; the driver struggling to gain his bearings. Since the windshield was smashed, it seemed easier to drag him out through there, and cover him with a space blanket.

Someone hollered that he was going to go try to find a phone, and I went, "Hey, I have one!". Dialed 911. First cell call I ever made.

Back when I did habitat design and construction, I spent a lot of time in university libraries perusing field studies. There's less need for that, now.

OregonGuy said...

The internets are over-rated. There is no substitute for a real research library.

I used to hitchhike from Corvallis to Berkeley in order to use their library. Now, the nearest real library is 100 miles away.

I miss libraries.

T. D. said...

Max, for us too cell phones were (are) a godsend. I just texted my nephew on a linux problem. So easy. Such an unintrusive, simple way to get hold of the younger crowd.

OG, I still use interlibrary loan quite a bit. But, so much information is online. I recently found online a number of Oregon appeals cases that my friend went to the Lewis & Clark law library to get. Now, he had a leg up because the librarian helping him knew what to look for, and I had to slog through lots of cases. But, still . . . .

MAX Redline said...

That first experience made it clear to me that cell phones can be really useful - got help to the trucker pretty quickly.

And while I appreciate research libraries, I also appreciate not having to spend so much in resources to access information.

T. D. said...

Just got some new input from my 15 year old niece. She says when she turns her phone off, her friends get upset and want to know if something is wrong or why she hasn't responded. So, it is a leash for them because they are expected to be in touch and to respond. Like our friends calling on the phone and getting no answer for days. Our days are their minutes and hours. Sigh.

MAX Redline said...

Good grief. How anyone can let tech work on them rather than for them is seriously disturbing.

T. D. said...

Apparently that's their social reality. They can do things within it. She says she doesn't respond to every comment, only to the thread. But still . . . . However, that's high school society. That should change dramatically in college in adulthood.

T. D. said...

Oops. Meant: in college and adulthood