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Consumption of culture by older Canadians on the Internet

Insights on Canadian Society

January 22, 201422 January 2014

Digital technologies and the arts

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This article, based on the 2010 General Social Survey and the 2010 Canadian Internet Use Survey, finds that there is still a substantial gap in online media consumption between younger Canadians and those 65 or older in terms of internet use, music downloading, and movie or video watching.

The article reports that “older Canadians increased their Internet usage markedly over the 2000s, but remained less likely to use the Internet than younger age groups.” The 2010 General Social Survey found that 60% of Canadians between 65 and 74 years of age had used the internet during the previous month, while almost all Canadians between 15 and 24 had done so.

Music downloading is becoming more popular among all Canadians but remains much more common for younger Canadians than older age groups. The same 2010 survey found that 87% of Canadians between 15 and 24 years of age listen to downloaded music at least once a week, compared with only 10% of Canadians between 65 and 74. Eighty percent of those between 65 and 74 still rely on traditional music formats, such as CDs.

Viewing TV, movies, or video clips online is much more common for Canadians between 18 and 24 (almost 80%) than for those 65 and over (about 10%), according to a 2010 survey of Canadians’ internet use.

Canadians between 65 and 74 years of age are more likely to read conventional books than younger Canadians. In theory, e-books might be an area where older Canadians do adopt newer technologies in rates that are similar to younger residents. Unfortunately, “Statistics Canada does not currently collect the data to gauge the online consumption of e-books”.

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