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Study: Digital Divide Narrowing Between Generations

University of Central Arkansas.

Researchers at the University of Central Arkansas have completed a study showing that the digital divide between younger and older generations is beginning to narrow. 

The study reveals some surprising truths about seniors. They have more money available for technological expenses, are already a significant online presence, and they use technology and the internet in comparable ways to younger generations.

Associate Professor Mark McMurtrey says that in addition to being the most overlooked and affluent consumer market, seniors are finding social media helpful for their own personal enrichment,

"If grandma can be a Facebook friend to their granddaughter, what a great way for them to be in touch, to not have that divide of never calling your grandma or that sort of thing;  hey grandma's on Facebook! So, we see just a lot of positives emanating from that," says McMurtrey.

As seniors continue to embrace the digital world technologies will begin to reflect its new users. McMurtrey says the growing presence of seniors online opens the door for hardware and software developers to create programs designed for the needs and interests of seniors. 

"I've noticed, just from me getting older,  computers and all the peripherals are kind of designed for younger eyes and younger hands, not for arthritic fingers and failing eyesight," says McMurtrey.

As generations that grew up with social media and digital technologies age the digital divide will continue to narrow while the market for senior-friendly devices and designs expands.

Jacob Kauffman is a former news anchor and reporter for KUAR.