"Silver surfing" on the rise, says new report

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The Independent Online

The number of seniors using the internet has risen by 55 percent over the past five years and is on an upward trend, according to data released Friday by analysts Nielsen.

The US-based study found that while seniors make up only a tenth of the internet universe, more and more are coming online: 17.5 million active users were logging on in November 2009 compared to 11.3 million in November 2004. The research also suggests that for active users, the internet is becoming a bigger part of their lives, with approximately 58 hours spent online a month, a rise of 11 percent over the past five years.

"The over 65 crowd represents about 13% of the total population [in the US] and with this increase in online usage, they are beginning to catch up with their offline numbers," said Chuck Schilling, research director, agency & media, Nielsen's online division. "Looking at what they're doing online, it makes sense they're engaged in many of the same activities that dominate other age segments - e-mail, sharing photos, social networking, checking out the latest news and weather."

The study also showed that social networking site Facebook has experienced massive growth in the past year - it is now the third most popular site for people over 65 to visit, after Google and Windows Media Player. Only a year ago it was the 45th most visited.

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