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Online generation gap is narrowing, Pew report finds

December 16, 2010 |  2:28 pm

Teen internet The generation gap is narrowing online, according to a newly released report by the Pew Research Center.

"There are still notable differences by generation in online activities, but the dominance of the millennial generation that we documented in our first 'Generations' report in 2009 has slipped in many activities," the report concluded.

Millennials, defined in this case as people ages 18 to 33, still surpass their elders in many areas, including use of social networking sites and instant messaging, online gaming and reading blogs, the report found. But older users were catching up in some of these areas. The fastest-growing group of social networking users was the oldest: The percentage of adults age 74 and older who said they used such sites quadrupled from 4% in December 2008 to 16% in May 2010.

In two areas -- visiting government websites and getting financial information online -- older users surpassed millennials.

And in the area of blogging, older users may overtake the young. While the percentage of teens and millennials who said they work on a personal blog has dropped, a higher percentage of adults ages 34 to 73 were blogging in 2010 than in 2008.

Some activities gained popularity among all groups, such as using e-mail and search engines, getting news and using online classified ad sites.

-- Abby Sewell

Photo: Mary Lee, 13, of suburban Cleveland, surfs the Web. The Pew Research Center report found that older generations are catching up with teens and millennials in Internet use. Credit: Tony Dejak / Associated Press

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