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The Growing Online Population

Are you online? Do you have a computer at home, or access to one at your library? Are you over 50 years of age? The answers to these questions are probably yes if you are reading this article.

A recent survey of AARP members shows 65 percent are now online. If you're purchasing items on-line, chatting with long-distance loved ones, contacting elected officials, conducting research, playing games, or following friends on Facebook and Twitter, you’re crossing the digital divide.

The term “digital divide” is used to define the have and have-nots of information technology; meaning those who get it and use it - and those who don't, can't or won't. Many people view electronic media as belonging to the young. Yet the gap is closing more every day, thanks to increased access and education. The range of skill sets in what is considered “older Americans” can’t be simply bucketed when speaking to Web or computer literacy. Keeping in mind that the face of AARP now includes Baby Boomers who are starting to retire, it’s no surprise to us that those recent survey numbers will continue to rise.

Social media connections are becoming more common to the 50-plus population, as much as between family members as with old and new friends.

AARP’s online efforts mirror where our members are heading. Our efforts will create a more connected community both online - and locally - by linking important information, programs and services as well as to encourage continuing education, civic involvement and volunteerism. We look forward to leading the gray expedition across the digital divide. Visit us regularly at www.aarp.org/ks. Also, we invite you to become a fan of our AARP Kansas Facebook page by simply typing AARPKansas into the Facebook search engine. We’ll keep you up-to-date when you visit us online.

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