China / Hot Issues

Seniors prove WeChat is not just for young

By Cao Yin and Zheng Jinran (China Daily) Updated: 2015-04-02 07:44

China has 177 million residents aged over 60, about 13.2 percent of the total population, according to the country's sixth census.

Horizonkey carried out a second survey among 1,125 retired people in seven cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang in Liaoning province. The researchers found that 57.4 percent of them did not make new friends in the six months after retirement.

"But in fact they wanted to learn new things and catch up with the pace of development in society," Wang added.

Zhang Kaiti, director of the China Research Center on Aging, said the Internet meets the needs of older people who wish to feel relevant in the modern world.

Services such as WeChat and microblogging platforms help them to keep in touch more effectively than traditional methods, Zhang said, and their use is spreading from the cities to rural areas.

"Older people in villages are concerned about their quality of life," he added.

However, Liu Yurong, 69, who lives in Beijing's Dongcheng district, said she does not use services such as WeChat "because it's too complicated to learn".

"I prefer to call my children directly instead of typing words on the phone, as the buttons on the screen are too small to see clearly," she said.

Zhang said he understands this point of view, and added: "Some older people think the Internet will bring them trouble, such as fraud and attempts to obtain confidential information.

"Authorities should introduce policies to help and guide them when they surf the Internet."

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