When I was growing up, we had a joke that technology was changing so quickly that parents would ask their kids to program their VCR. That stereotype about “early adopters” of new technology being skewed toward the younger generation has seemingly always existed, but lately I’m beginning to question that old adage. Especially whenever I visit my parents and have the opportunity to try out the new iPad, smart phones or Amazon Kindle that they always seem to be using. When did my parents suddenly become so “hip” and so familiar with the latest technology? Probably somewhere around the time when they became grandparents and saw a marked increase in their disposable income while I found myself shopping for more “toys” for my children than for myself.
Apparently my “hunch” about the Kindle is supported by evidence as well. According to the blog Kindleculture (http://kindleculture.blogspot.com/2009/04/kindle-demographics.html) the largest segment of the population who own a Kindle is the 50-59 age group representing 21% of Kindle owners, followed closely by the 40-49 (19%) and 60-69 (18%) segments. It makes sense why the Kindle appeals to the over-50 population, given its easy portability for travel, ability to change font sizes, and download magazine, newspaper and blogs to the device.
Maybe we should rethink old stereotypes about age when it comes to new technology and consider other factors in determining who is an “early adopter.” And next time I get a break from shuffling my children from school to soccer practice to playdates, maybe my parents can show me how to download the new eBook from my favorite author and let me play with their new toys.