The Shared Anxieties of Millennials and Seniors: Tech Companies

Older and younger adults sometimes see eye to eye

Millennials often have been held up as objects of confusion or even scorn by older generations, but data from the Pew Research Center indicates some similarities in attitudes across age groups when it comes to technology companies.

In a wide-ranging study, Pew found relatively few Americans trust technology companies to "consistently do what is right," while the majority feel that tech companies' products and services mainly benefit those who already have advantages in society.

Younger people generally have a more optimistic, accommodating view of technology, but their attitudes in many ways are not all that different from their elders.

And when the viewpoints of the different generations converge, the stance is not uniformly for or against Big Tech. For instance, both older and younger people are about equally likely to doubt that technology companies will consistently do what's right, but they also are generally in agreement that the impact of technology companies has been largely positive.

When asked if they think big technology companies wield too much power and influence, a clear majority of people ages 65 and older said that was true. Younger users were considerably less likely to agree with that assessment. Still, nearly half did think that Big Tech was unreasonably powerful.

Similarly, more than half of older respondents think technology companies should have more regulatory oversight. The level was lower among those 18 to 29, but a still significant 45% agreed that more regulation was appropriate.

That echoes other data suggesting growing support for the regulation of Big Tech. An Axios survey conducted by SurveyMonkey in February found that consumers were more concerned about under-regulation than about over-regulation.

More than half of respondents said their primary concern was that government wouldn't go far enough to regulate technology companies.