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Seniors jump on the internet bandwagon

(People's Daily Online)    15:15, February 22, 2019

 Senior citizens are learning how to surf the internet. (Xinhua/Wei Wei)

It is not unusual to see the younger generation shopping, reading news or participating in live shows online, but China's internet world is now joined by a legion of unlikely participants - the elderly.

Wang Jinxiang, a 62-year-old retiree, is among them. She found her niche in live streaming three years ago, and has become somewhat of an online celebrity, with more than 240,000 fans on Quan Min Karaoke, an online singing platform.

She was introduced to the platform by her friend, as she often shared her singing in WeChat groups. With live streaming booming in China, she began to live stream her performances.

"At first, I was no good at handling the mobile phone and apps, but I like to try new things. Thanks to online teachers who taught me how to use the app, I can now handle the technical side with ease," she explained. Now, she also teaches her fans how to use their phones to live stream.

Screenshot of Wang Jinxiang live streaming her song performance

The thriving internet industry has developed at a pace that is faster than the elderly expected. In this rapidly aging nation, the "silver-haired economy" is maturing in China. More digital-savvy devices have been designed for senior citizens, which allows them easier access to the internet.

Yang Yifan, assistant dean of the National Interdisciplinary Institute on Aging in Southwest Jiaotong University, noted that new technologies should consider age differences, and offer more support and help to the elderly. Designers are recommended to take a closer look at their daily life and try to meet demand.

"Inclusive, innovative and fair internet design is believed to bring about brand new internet experiences for both the black-haired generation and silver-haired generation," Yang Yifan added.

Nowadays, the elderly are going with the tide. An increasing number are engaging in online activities, such as shopping, live streaming and singing Karaoke. They are forming a unique internet culture stemming from their own life experiences.

As the internet penetrates deeper into the life of Chinese people, China will step up efforts in helping the elderly embrace this trend. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Du Mingming)

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