More seniors surf via smartphone: Poll

Last year, about 75 per cent of people in their 50s surfed the Web regularly, compared with 67 per cent in 2013. Of those 60 and above, 31 per cent use the Net, up from 29 per cent in 2013.
Last year, about 75 per cent of people in their 50s surfed the Web regularly, compared with 67 per cent in 2013. Of those 60 and above, 31 per cent use the Net, up from 29 per cent in 2013.ST FILE PHOTO

IDA survey also shows more than 40% of kids up to six years old access Internet regularly

More older people are accessing the Internet and they do so via the smartphone, an official survey of infocomm use among Singapore households reveals.

Those aged 50 years and above registered the highest increase in Internet use last year, compared with 2013.

This is according to the Infocomm Development Authority's (IDA) Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Households 2014, released yesterday. The data was collected from 3,500 households via face-to-face interviews.

Last year, about 75 per cent of people aged 50 to 59 surfed the Web regularly, compared with 67 per cent in 2013 and 50 per cent in 2012.

For those aged 60 and above, the proportion using the Internet was 31 per cent last year, up from 29 per cent in 2013 and 16 per cent in 2012.

Most of them acquired their Internet skills from family members, and they access the Internet via the smartphone, the survey found.

IDC Asia-Pacific senior market analyst Kiranjeet Kaur said: "Chat and messaging apps are likely the most commonly used apps as seniors finally get used to new ways to stay in touch with family and friends."

Across all age groups, the proportion of Internet users was 79 per cent last year, down from 81 per cent in 2013.

The national average was dragged down as IDA started surveying children aged six and below last year. More than 40 per cent of children in this age group used the Net regularly. And most of them do so on the tablet and smartphone.

Their top activities: watching movies and playing games.

Said Ms Kaur: "It is increasingly common to see children watching YouTube videos on tablets or smartphones in restaurants."

The IDA survey also revealed that fibre broadband was the Internet connection of choice among households here.

Last year, 62 per cent of households used fibre broadband, up from 47 per cent in 2013.

Once installed, home owners use wireless routers to set up Wi-Fi connections for all their computers and mobile devices.

Fibre broadband's rise was at the expense of older and slower ADSL and cable broadband technologies.

The fourth way that households access the Internet was via 3G and 4G networks, despite the rising costs of mobile data. Last year, 56 per cent of all households used 3G and 4G to access the Internet. This is a rise from 46 per cent in 2013, and 38 per cent in 2012.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2015, with the headline 'More seniors surf via smartphone: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe