2017-04-01

Jisun Lim (Barun ICT Research Center, Yonsei Univ.)

Goonyong Park (Barun ICT Research Center, Yonsei Univ.)

The Yonsei University Barun ICT Research Center strives to empirically analyze PC/mobile platform usage behavior using demographic data on gender, age, region, occupation, income, level of education, and marital status from various angles. The following research provides objective, in-depth information on important social issues relevant to ICT use, such as alienation from information, the digital divide, and smartphone addiction. All of the studies were based on data sets constructed by the Barun ICT Research Center

• PC/Mobile usage time of age groups according to internet usage time
• People in their 20s, who are generally active and familiar with smartphones, spend more time on smartphones than PCs
• Developing smartphone usage technology is important for those in their 60s, who are active but have declined cognitive function

By comparing patterns in PC/mobile use for different age groups based on internet usage time, a range of usage patterns by age group was gathered. From June 27 to October 2 of 2016, the Yonsei University Barun ICT Research Center gathered and compared the smartphone mobile internet and PC internet usage time of 6,090 people across the nation.

The study revealed that except for people in their 20s (international age 19 to 29), the average PC internet usage time across all age groups (180 min/week) was higher than average mobile internet usage time (112 min/week). Although there have previously been assumptions that mobile internet usage has increased because of the increasing supply of smartphones, this is the first data-based analysis of internet usage by platform using actual usage levels.

For users between ages 19 and 29, who are active and accustomed to smartphones, the average mobile internet usage time (196 min/week) was greater than the average PC internet usage time. However, for people in their 30s and 40s, who are familiar with smartphones but less active, PC internet use was more common than mobile internet use. This was also the case for other age groups. In other words, the background differences between age groups were not only shaped by their smartphone usage abilities, but also by lifestyle factors (such as employment status), which influence PC/mobile usage patterns.

On the other hand, the older generation (aged 60 to 69) had the greatest difference between PC internet and mobile internet usage time. The average weekly mobile internet usage time was 29 minutes for people in their 60s, equivalent to around 1/7th of the average usage time for people in their 20s, who used the most mobile internet (196 min/week).

Mobile internet, which offers location flexibility and instant information sharing, can provide greater benefits to people over 60, who tend to be active and have begun to suffer from impaired cognitive function. Consequently, there should be efforts to supply this age group with smartphones. Various approaches and technological developments that consider declined cognitive function are necessary to make these improvements.

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