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Nielsen: More seniors becoming Web regulars

Number of people 65 and older using the Internet regularly increased by 55 percent in five years. Some of the biggest growth was in social networks and on blogs.

Although those aged 65 and older make up less than 10 percent of active Web users, a new Nielsen study has found that over the past five years, the number of seniors using the Internet regularly has increased by a 55 percent.

According to Nielsen, there were just 11.3 million seniors actively using the Web in November 2004. Five years, later, there are now more than 17.5 million seniors surfing around. Senior women have picked up the Web faster than men, outpacing men by 6 percent.

Check out where the seniors are going on the Web. Nielsen Company

Seniors aren't just going to the Web, they're staying there. Nielsen found that the amount time seniors surf increased 11 percent in the last five years from 52 hours per month to a little more than 58 hours per month in November.

Nielsen research director Chuck Schilling said in a statement that seniors are sharing photos, social networking, and reading the news.

According to the data Nielsen culled from its study, 88.6 percent of seniors use the Web to check their personal e-mail. The study also found that 68.6 percent of respondents were viewing and printing maps online, while 60.1 percent said that they check the weather.

Nielsen said the top online destination for seniors in November was Google Search, tallying 10.3 million unique visitors. Windows Media Player was used by 8.2 million unique senior visitors, and Facebook captured the third spot with 7.9 million visitors.

Facebook is where the most growth among seniors was seen. A year ago, Facebook was ranked 45th for the most popular senior destination--a far cry from its current third spot. That kind of growth falls in line with the dramatic increase in senior use of social networks and blogs. Nielsen said those 65 and older have increased social and blog visiting by 53 percent. They now represent 8.2 percent of all social network and blog visitors on the Web.

Click here to read the full Nielsen study.