Over 60s become Facebook’s most passionate users
Few people would have predicted that Over 60s would become some of social media’s most passionate users. But a study last year by Pew Research Center found that about one-third of all adults over the age of 65 years reported using social media. Additionally, they found that 62% of over 65s are on Facebook, with social media use among seniors is rising at a rapid rate.
With an increasing number of older adults using the internet, social media use among Australian’s in their 60s is continuously spreading.
“There are a couple of factors at play here,” says Richard Broughton, an analyst at Ampere. “One is that older people tend to be late to the internet party, but adoption tends to find its way through the demographics eventually. And with Facebook’s video and photo experience it is a platform they want to be on to keep up with the social lives of their kids and grandchildren.”
General behaviour of adults as they age, their social networks reduce in size as they become more selective of the relationships that are maintained; they look to spend more time with familiar and rewarding relationships. This suggests that their network of friends on social media are more intimate than the younger generation, thus older adults are less concerned with comparing themselves to others than keeping in contact with family and friends.
Another catalyst for increased usage is linked to distance, whereby Facebook makes it easy to keep in touch with family members, especially for those separated from children and grandchildren by long distances. And of course, as the Over 60s become more comfortable with the internet and connecting online, they become more active on platforms such as social media. Late bloomers some may say?
So just how many people over 60 are using Facebook?
As at January 2019, there were 15 million monthly active Facebook users in Australia, which therefore suggests that approximately 6 in 10 Australians use Facebook. And of the 15 million active users, it there are nearly 20% of active Facebook users that are 55 years and over; with 1.6 million aged 55 – 64, and 1.2 million users aged 65 and over.
Facebook Demographics in Australia
Age Bracket Number of Users
13 – 17: 940,000
18 – 25: 3,500,000
25 – 39: 6,100,000
40 – 55: 4,100,000
55 – 64: 1,600,000
So, with almost 20% of users being over the age of 55, it’s important to understand potential health impacts of social media – for the good and the bad – of ageing adults.
Actively interacting with people – especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions – is linked to improvements in wellbeing. This ability to connect with relatives, classmates, and colleagues is what drew many of us to Facebook in the first place, and it’s no surprise that staying in touch with these friends and loved ones brings us joy and strengthens our sense of community. Studies show that older adults are more inclined to use Facebook as a social platform moreso that comparing themselves to others – with is one of the main causes linked to social media, depression and jealousy.
Read more on this in our blog: Older adults benefit from social media more than the younger generation.
– Anderson, M., Perrin, A. (2017). Tech adoption climbs among older adults. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.
– Is Facebook for old people? Over-55s flock in as the young leave. Read more
– Social Media Statistics Australia – January 2019. David Cowling, 1 February 2019. Read more