Web surfing has become a “popular activity” for retirees, with many older surfers increasingly discovering its benefits and advantages, according to new research.

A study by Ofcom revealed that so-called “silver surfers” dedicate an average of 42 hours a month to internet usage, compared with 37.9 hours among 18 to 24-year-olds.

The same report found that people over the age of 50 account for about a quarter of all internet users.

According to the British Computer Society (BCS), it is very important for the retired population to “have the opportunity and support in moving online” if they so choose.

However, the UK’s leading IT body stressed that the increase in internet use within public services makes it vital that people are not excluded as a consequence and that the “digital divide” does not lead to a disenfranchised segment of society.

David Evans, government relations manager for the BCS, said: “While younger people seem to integrate technology into their lives more naturally, the divide does not seem to be along age lines. Education, training, and access are far more important.”

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