Rarely does a day pass without some expert extolling the problems or opportunities arising from generational differences between baby boomers and millennials, writes blogger Ira Wolfe for Huffington Post:
As an older boomer, I’m finding generational clash points aren’t exclusively intergenerational. I’m wondering if I’m alone when I suggest there is a growing digital divide within the baby boomer generation.
It’s not that baby boomers aren’t connected more than ever. According to an August 2011 Pew Internet survey, three out of four boomers between 50 and 64 years old use the Internet. Even more compelling is that for the first time in history more than half (53 percent) of American adults age 65 and older are going online.
But not all baby boomers are connected. More recent research by the Pew Internet Project has shown that among current Internet non-users, about half say the main reason they don’t go online now is because they don’t think the Internet is relevant to them. They also believe they don’t need it to get the information they want to communicate about. To a lesser but still significant degree, I hear the same excuses from my neighbors, peers, customers, and just in general conversation. When I pull out my smartphone, I can feel the “I just don’t get it” look. “What’s so important that it can’t wait?”
And that is where I feel the divide begins and two camps build.
First and possibly foremost, baby boomers are the most active senior generation in history. Many boomers are determined to defy the inevitable — aging. To stay relevant at work and connected with their friends and families, they use the Internet often. From news and weather to grandkids and childhood friends, online access isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity.