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.