Older people still on wrong side of digital divide

Many seniors are still reluctant to go online or they are unable to access the Internet, according to new research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The ABS analysis of data on the household use of technology found 85 per cent of Australians aged 15 and older were internet users and 86 per cent of households had internet access in 2014-15.

This was up from 83 per cent two years previously and from 67 per cent in 2007-08.

But age remained a key factor, with just over half those aged 65 or over using the internet, while 98.6 per cent of 15 to 17-year-olds were online.

The major drop-off in online use was for those aged 55-64, 81 per cent of whom used the Internet, while just 51 per cent of over 65s, the oldest age group, were online.

Residents of the ACT had a highest rate of internet access with 94 per cent, while the lowest rate was in Tasmania and South Australia where only 82 per cent of households had access to the Internet.

Internet use by employed Australians was 93 per cent, compared with only 70 per cent for those who were unemployed.

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