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Age gap narrows as internet use among older people rises

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show recent internet use among those aged 65 and older.

The figures show how the age gap is closing when it comes to internet use (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The figures show how the age gap is closing when it comes to internet use (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The number of older people regularly using the internet is on the rise, closing the age gap with younger users, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Since 2011, the 65- to 74-year-old age range has seen the largest increase in recent internet use, climbing from 53% in 2011 to 83% now, the ONS said.

The number of people aged 75 and over using the internet has also drastically increased in that period, rising from just 20% in 2011 to almost 47% today.

In the UK as a whole in 2019, 91% of all UK adults have recently used the internet, with 99% of 16- to 44-year-olds having recently been online.

According to the figures, in 2019 the number of disabled adults who were recent internet users reached over 10 million for the first time, representing 78% of disabled adults.

The figures named London and the South East as the UK region with the highest proportion of recent internet users (93%), while Northern Ireland had the lowest (87%).

The findings come amidst increased debate over the dangers of addiction to the internet and social media, with a parliamentary inquiry currently ongoing into addictive technologies.

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The number of over-75s using the internet has soared (Yui Mok/PA)

The Government’s recently published online harms white paper also proposed the introduction of an independent regulator for technology and internet companies, with a mandatory duty of care to protect their users also introduced.

Several firms, including Apple and Google, have also introduced new wellbeing tools that enable users to monitor their screen time.

The ONS said that in 2018, the UK had the third highest proportion of recent internet users in the EU, behind only Luxembourg and Denmark, with 95% of those aged between 16 and 74 regularly using the internet.

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