Baby Boomers Gettin’ Jiggy With Technology (Especially Tablets)

With a show of hands: how many of you are the de facto dedicated technical support person for every electronic device that your parents own? If this describes you, the news that Canadian baby boomers are embracing the Internet, new media and mobile devices may come with mixed emotions. Truth be told, it’s about time.

A recent Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report indicated that baby boomers (those aged 46 to 65 or born between 1947 and 1966) are only trailing 10% behind younger generations with 89% taking advantage of emerging technologies (though they do seem to prefer tablets as their use of smartphones is still lagging 20% behind with an adoption rate of only 29%).

Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid, Dave Pierzchala discusses the report results by saying:

“It’s clear that Canada’s Baby Boomer generation is not taking to new media and technologies at the same rate or with the same commitment as the younger generation of Digital Natives. However, we are seeing online Boomers becoming more comfortable as their adoption of new devices is trending upwards.”

What many may find interesting is that these baby boomers aren’t tending toward changing their (now) antiquated way of doing things but rather they are choosing to use these innovations to supplement them. So basically, you can’t expect your parents to use their iPad to watch their favourite television program, but chances are good they will catch the latest viral ‘cute kitten doing something ridiculously funny’ video on YouTube.

The moral of the story? You should start preparing for how you will answer your mother’s panicked call regarding how to conquer level 36 in Angry Birds Star Wars.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • SV650

    Why would you expect your parents to watch TV on their iPad when they can watch it on their (antiquated) 50″ flatscreen from the comfort of their living room couch? Alternately, they also aren’t likely to go through the contortions to watch the You Tube video on their Flat screen – the interface is just too clumsy.

    Since they have built most of their networks, and likely feel no real need to constantly create new ones, so are less likely to use social media as you do. Many have learned the (hard) lesson of over-exposing themselves to the world, and have more cautions about their public ‘face”.

    For most of them, Skyping with their grand kids is probably MUCH higher on their list of priorities than checking in with four square. When you are their age, I expect your priorities will also shift, and you, too, will be using the portions of the technology available to you in a fashion that best meets your needs.

    Have a read of Boom, Bust and Echo in which ever format you prefer, and you’ll gain great insight into how each generation behaves in similar fashion to earlier ones as it ages!

    Oh, and for the most part, it is Boomers who are providing technical support to THEIR parents interaction with technology. Imagine the changes those folks have experienced! Growing up TV didn’t exist, and telephone was often a party-line. Now they video conference with their great-grandchild on a device smaller & lighter than the slate they may have used in school.

    I think they are doing pretty well with technology!

  • Well, I am a Boomer and I have embraced technology and have started my own blogging site to reflect that change. Quite franky, I am astonished at the number of younger adults who are still totally uneducated with all that technology offers. I mean, when I know more than they do regarding the latest products on the market and what they are capable of doing then, clearly, there is something wrong.

    It’s the children of Baby Boomers who are in the dark but the grandchildren are coveting technology like crazy. At least, that is what is happening in my home. It really is quite funny. Grandmother and grandchildren technological bonding.

    Well have to run – I am in the process of writing an ebook, designing iPhoto calendars for gift giving and baking for Christmas. Quite a ludicrous scenario, no?