Older Australians turned to social media apps and other forms of digital communication like never before during COVID-19, new research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) shows.
The study found that 41 per cent of Australians aged 75 and were using social media in June of 2020, up from 18 per cent in June 2019.
In the same period, the number of older Australians emailing increased from 37 per cent to 81 per cent.
“The digital divide between younger and older Australians has narrowed, with this trend accelerated by the desire to maintain contact with friends and family during lockdowns,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
And while older Australians saw the most significant uptick in social media usage last year, there was a consistent increase across the board.
More than one in three Australians increased their use of social networking apps following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions.
Facebook was the most used social media app across the board (used by 93 per cent of social media users), followed by YouTube (73 per cent), Instagram (57 per cent) and Whatsapp (48 per cent).
“After years of gradual drift towards communications and social media apps, we have now seen a more pronounced shift in the way Australians connect,” O’Loughlin said.
“More people are relying on social networking apps and mobile communication services like Facebook Messenger and Zoom to stay connected.”