Age and the Willingness to Adopt Technology

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Updated on Nov 19, 2012

New technology is invading our lives at an ever-increasing rate. While many people find new technology exciting and can't wait to get involved in it, some people may feel intimidated by it, or feel that it only complicates their lives and puts more stress on them.

The technological advances we have seen, especially in the last few decades, have changed the way we do many things. The Internet as a source for news, entertainment, research, buying goods, and stock market trading has revolutionized the home computer. The computer itself has changed the way many of us work and play. DVD players, smart phones, ATMs, e-mail, and a host of other new inventions have made our work and pleasure time easier and more enjoyable.

But, maybe not everyone believes these inventions are so wonderful. Do you think older people may be more resistant to technology, wanting to do things the way they have always done them? Perhaps they like doing things the way they are comfortable with, or perhaps they are confused by new technology.

Many inventions have taken place in the last few years that we take for granted. For example, if you watch reruns of the original Star Trek episodes on TV, you are familiar with the automatic opening of doors as people approached them. Today, we don't give a second thought to doors opening by themselves as we walk into a department store or a supermarket!

This project will conduct a survey of different age groups and ask them about their use of new technology. This study will give insight into how people of different ages are coping with these changes in society.

Hypothesize that when people of different age groups are surveyed about their use of new technology, a greater percentage of younger people will answer "Yes" to their use of it than will older people.

  • Paper and pencil
  • 20 people between the ages of 16 and 30
  • 20 people between the ages of 31 and 49
  • 20 people over age 50

Create a short list of questions to ask in a survey about the use of new technology. The survey should be similar to the following example.

Answer Yes or No to these questions:

  1. Do you own a personal computer?
  2. Do you use e-mail regularly?
  3. Do you bank online?
  4. Do you know how to program and set the time on your VCR?
  5. Do you have a cellular phone?
  6. Do you use a bank ATM machine?

If you can't get 20 people in each group to participate in the survey, get as many as you can. Calculate the percentage of people who answered Yes to each question in each group. For example, suppose 15 out of 20 people surveyed in the first group answered Yes. Divide the number of Yes answers by the total number of people, and then multiply by 100 to get the percent:

(15/20) × 100 = 75%

Write down the results of your experiment. Document all observations and data collected.

Come to a conclusion as to whether or not your hypothesis was correct.

Something More

Were there any questions in which a greater number of older people had a higher percentage of Yes answers?