Linda Thomas of North Ipswich is a regular user of social media to keep in touch with her family around the world.
Linda Thomas of North Ipswich is a regular user of social media to keep in touch with her family around the world. David Nielsen

Over 60s plug in to the web

NORTH Ipswich senior Linda Thomas is one of many "Silver Surfers" riding the online social media wave.

Research by insurance company Apia has revealed 60% of Australians aged over 60 are using the web for a variety of activities including emailing, shopping, banking and social networking.

Ms Thomas is proof that the stereotype of the technophobic older Aussie has been shattered.

"I use my iPad all the time, I use Facebook and Skype to keep in touch with my family overseas in England and Canada, but I don't do Twitter," Ms Thomas said .

"I was the first one out of my siblings to get a computer, and I was a bit stranded so I went to SeniorNet to learn how to use email and everything and got into Facebook through them.

"Now my sister who is 65 and my brother who is 75 are using Skype and I can chat with them everyday.

"I probably use Skype for 10 to 15 minutes to catch up and just see what's happening, but I have to admit I use my iPad a lot for games," she laughed.

"It's good for memory games and word games."

Ms Thomas said one of the biggest shocks that came with joining Facebook was not technology-related at all.

"I knew how to use it all, I just couldn't believe some of the language that the younger kids were using on it," Ms Thomas said. "I had to block some of them but now I've added a couple back who are at uni, but I comment on their posts to let them know if they're inappropriate."

Ms Thomas said she enjoyed using Facebook to catch up on family member's lives via photo albums and statuses.

"Skype is also excellent because it's free and you can see the person you're talking to."

Apia executive manager Grant Taylor said keeping up to date on loved ones' news was the main reason over 50s gave to explain their going online.

"Nearly 90% over 50s say it's important for them to keep up with (rapid technology) changes," Mr Taylor added.

SENIOR SURFERS

Percentage of internet users aged 50 years plus:

85% of 50 - 64 year olds

76% of 65 - 69 year olds

65% of 70 - 74 year olds, and

41% of people aged 75 years plus



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