AARP response

Subject: AARP response
From: Lisa Lewis <llewis -at- INRI -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 1996 10:59:04 -0400

Assuming that the AARP statistic is reliable, is your insinuation
that older people have more computer experience than younger people?

The fact that more people in AARP own computers than people in the
general population probably has more to do with income than age as
a factor of computer ownership.

As a group, older people now have a greater net worth than any other
demographic group. And, I would wager that people with a greater net
worth are more likely to own computers (if for no other reason than

Incidentally, you can own a computer and never use it. I once
worked for an 80-person company where all the younger underlings
had and used computers, but the upper level management staff did
not have computers. The company President could easily say that
he owned a lot of computers. However, he also didn't know how to
turn on a computer!

Plus, if the "general population" includes children and college
students, the stats are probably distorted. Children probably
use their parents' computers and college students often use their
schools' computers instead of buying their own. So, here are two
demographic groups with more computer exposure than ownership.

In addition, many middle-aged people (some of which are early-bird
AARP members) simply use their computers at work instead of buying
their own. They also have more computer exposure than ownership.
Programmers are famous for not owning their own computers--just
using those of their employers.

In any case, I think it's fairly obvious that income is a major
factor in computer ownship (and computer literacy if it, in fact,
proceeds from ownership).

If we should not be ageist against older people, than we should
not be ageist in their favor. We should not assume that older or
younger people have any more or less exposure to or knowledge of
computers until we ask them as individuals in interview situations.

Lisa L. Lewis
Technical Writer
INRI-Newport News
(804)249-1234 x403
llewis -at- inri -dot- com

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