Mature and Wired

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Has your computer frozen up on you? Are you stumped by the complexity of the Internet? Try asking your parent or grandparent for help instead of your whiz-kid nephew. You might be surprised.

Mature Americans aged 55 and older who own computers log the most home computer usage, at 38 hours per month, according to Media Metrix, Inc. Their computer time use is nearly 60 percent higher than the average of 24 hours per month. In fact, those aged 55 and older use their computers two-thirds more than young adults aged 18 to 24.

In general, the younger the age group, the less time they spend on home computers. Forty-five-to-54-year-olds are second in time spent at the PC, at 34 hours, while 35-to-44-year-olds use their computers 28 hours per month. Young adults aged 18 to 24 log on for 23 hours monthly, and 12-to-17-year-olds trail far behind at 11 hours, 55 percent below average. The exception to the rule is members of the 25-to-34 age group, which racks up 29 hours, 3 percent more time than their immediate elders.

Higher computer use among the middle-aged and mature may seem to imply they are pursuing the same activities, but motivations are substantially different for the two groups. Retirees use their computer time to keep in touch with distant family and friends, to delve into new areas, or to keep informed on breaking news. Meanwhile, older baby boomers in technology-driven competitive professions are honing their skills on the latest software on their own time or searching job listings on the Internet.

For more information on the Media Metrix study, contact Stacie Leone at Media Metrix, 35 East 21st Street, Third Floor, New York, NY 10010; telephone (212) 460-7997 or e-mail [email protected]

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