General Question

janbb's avatar

Does age matter on the Internet?

Asked by janbb (62922points) August 21st, 2011
42 responses
“Great Question” (6points)

I revealed my age on another site and now feel a bit funny about it. I think I seem younger than I actually am and I’m wondering if people will feel differently or negatively about me knowing my age. Does it have an impact on the Internet or is age irrelevant? Are we all really dogs? Your thoughts?

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JessicaRTBH's avatar

I look like I’m 12, act like I’m 5 and am really almost 30 – age means nothing in general to me anywhere. (besides with underage issues of course)

Berserker's avatar

I’m kinda wondering the same thing. I’m pretty sure most people think I’m younger than I actually am, so I don’t always feel comfortable saying my age. I’m not sure why.
Although in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it matters all that much, unless you’re in a relationship with someone online. And for me to consider it as such, phone time and webcam are vital elements which would pretty much discount the whole age thing, since by those means you already have a pretty good idea, if the person hasn’t revealed their age.
But for other stuff, yeah, it’s really only as important as you let it be, I guess?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

The only time I think age matters is when you are discussing sensitive topics, and there are children lying about their age, reading that sensitive information. It bothers me.

DrBill's avatar

Age matters to some people, not websites.

Age means nothing to me

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chyna's avatar

If you aren’t a teenager, then age doesn’t matter to me. The reason I say that is that teenagers have a whole different outlook on things than I do.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I value age, the older you are the more pre-approved respect you get. It matters but does not. At least to me.

It will have some effects, If you are 12 I will not take what you have to say about love too seriously, and if you are 80 I will not take what you say about young people too seriously, but for the most part its irrelevant.

FutureMemory's avatar

Like poison said, knowing someone’s age can help you decide how much weight their opinion carries with you. Other than that it doesn’t ‘matter’ to me all that much.

Joker94's avatar

To a degree, yeah. It doesn’t really matter a whole lot in the grand scheme, but on Fluther, I don’t tend to take younger people as seriously. I still try to, though, since I’m not that old myself.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, we usually can pick out the teenagers without them even revealing their age. When I suspect their age, I usually ask them directly, because it affects how I answer. Over 30 I don’t think age matters much. Experience does matter, and the older someone is, the more experiences and wisdom they are likely to have, but that varies. If someone is 40 or 80 it would make no difference to me on the internet, or in real life.

Adagio's avatar

There are some people who should have grown up but have not, while others are wise beyond their years I’m not speaking about Fluther specifically, it’s simply a generalisation. I tend to take each comment on its own merit, if it makes sense it does not matter what the age of the person making it was.

Judi's avatar

Chris Hansen sure thinks so.
It depends on the site and the topics being discussed. That’s sort of like saying, ” Does age matter in a city? ”

Cruiser's avatar

I prefer to rattle sabers with people my own age as there is a bit more common ground between us than say someone 30 years younger than me.

DeanV's avatar

I try not to let it matter, but for the most part it really does.

DominicX's avatar

It doesn’t have much of an impact on me unless the person is speaking of matters that relate specifically to age. Otherwise, I don’t care. I don’t value someone’s opinion as lesser because of their age. I really don’t judge people based on age; I had enough of that done to me when I was a minor on these types of websites.

wundayatta's avatar

Age certainly matters to me. Or rather, wisdom, experience and knowledge matter to me. The older you are, the more you accumulate. Sometimes people in their twenties seem much wiser than their years. That’s cool. Sometimes those people who seem so wise for their age turn out to be much older than what they presented themselves as.

I’ve found that women, in particular, seem to like to not admit to their age. They don’t want people to ignore them because they are too old. I guess some women feel like once they pass a certain age, they become invisible. So they don’t want people to know they are past that age, because they don’t want to disappear.

For me, I much prefer they admit to their age because that makes them more attractive to me. I like wisdom, which, while it can be found in the young, is much less likely. If someone presents themselves as young, then they get fewer chances to act stupid with me before I decide they are stupid. An older person gets slightly more chances, but not too many more. Maybe an extra set of bad days to excuse them. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how old you are. If you seem smart, I pay attention; if you act stupid, I’ll write you off after a while.

plethora's avatar

it’s the thoughts that come out of your mouth. There is a 21 year old Flutherite who consistently displays the wisdom of someone 40+.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

To me it does. If a person is under the age of consent, then I want to know it. It has nothing to do with flirting, as I don’t online, but it can make a difference in how I treat them.

Other than people who are below 18, their age doesn’t matter to me. What does is their maturity level. Even then, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. If an internet friend were to tell me that they were my age, there is no reason to expect that they have the same maturity level or experience in specific subjects that I do. I have no qualms in asking the advice of someone much older or younger if I think that their feedback may help. After all, how do we really know their age when it comes to an internet friendship?

mazingerz88's avatar

Yes. For all legal intents and purposes and it helps when you may not know who you’re really hearing from but knowing their age does provide some interesting reference. If @Symbeline is 19, that will be cool but if she’s actually Betty White, that will be awesome!


I like to know how old people are when I interact with them on the Internet, but it’s really not that important. As long as we are able to communicate, joke, have a good time, etc., age doesn’t matter. Having a likable mindset and being able to share experiences is most important. It would be nice to know everyone’s ages here——I’m in my early 30s, btw.

jonsblond's avatar

It does matter to some people. I can talk music and relate pretty well with some users who are in their 20s, even though I’m 40. I also relate well with those who are older than I am. But once some users know my age I quickly become “that middle-age mommy” (to those much younger than me)

Bellatrix's avatar

For most topics/situations I am not worried about how old people are. I try to relate to people based on how they present themselves, their ideas etc. rather than how old they are. There are some topics where I feel it is important to know you are talking to someone who is aged 15 rather than 35 though.

Sunny2's avatar

I find the site refreshingly absent ageism. It’s easier to identify the approximate age of some people than others. I tend to respond to people according to their language skills rather than a possible perception of age.

augustlan's avatar

Except as it pertains to handling the issues of younger teens with care, it doesn’t matter a bit to me. The only time it would come into play would be if I were single and interested in a romantic relationship with an online friend.

For the record, I am now 44 years and 4 days old. :)

plethora's avatar

@augustlan Happy Birthday belated

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@augustlan Got you beat……many years ahead of you LOL LOL Congrats, now where is my slice of cake?

Putting your age on a site is something and nothing at the same time. People will lie about their age. The validity of any age is just how well you believe it.

It is something in the construct of an online forum such as this. You could be having a conversation with someone on a subject you’d never sit around Starbucks chewing the fat with them on had you knew they were underage. There are things that would be obvious if you were face-to-face. Also you would have some perspective why they answered the way they did. If you were speaking of civil rights and lived through it, en someone else who was of age to witness it either directly or indirectly it might carry more weight than someone who only read about it years after the fact. You can maybe see them as more accurate if you knew they were old enough as oppose to not being. Without age you might assume they were old enough but just clueless.

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john65pennington's avatar

In a house of prostitution, do you think the women at the door ask for your identification?

thebluewaffle's avatar

I think so, I’m 22 and people then jump to the conclusion that my opinion is worth squat compared to that of a 40 year old who has ‘apparently’ been through it all.
People jump the gun far too quickly, and if they actually met you in real life, they’d see that I have a lot more ‘life experience’ than that of most people who are older than me.

Also, in my late teens, on myspace, I had an encounter with a supposed girl, who then in the end, turned out to be a 62 year old man trying to groom my 18year old self. He said he did it so that he could get young men my age to talk to him at first, just before he revealed himself to them.
In the end, he got more disgusted with me and my comments and ended up scaring him off!

In a nutshell, yes, revealing your age is important.

JLeslie's avatar

@thebluewaffle Do people guess you are in your early 20’s or you tell them?

janbb's avatar

@thebluewaffle But in your first example, if people didn’t know your age they would value your input more.

@Everyone I was not particularly thinking of dating sites or porn sites where age does matter, but more of Q&A and social networking sties.

thebluewaffle's avatar

@JLeslie I must come across as a young ‘still-wet-behind-the-ears’ lad.

thebluewaffle's avatar

@janbb I completely understand that…but why should my age affect peoples opinions on my input…

That itself, is a pretty immature outlook.

janbb's avatar

@thebluewaffle I agree and at the other end, I feel people might dismiss me for being “too old.”

thebluewaffle's avatar

@janbb Maybe we should team up and take on those who oppose us!

I smell a new movie…or at least a sitcom.

JLeslie's avatar

@thebluewaffle That’s the point. If we can tell you are young by your word choice and opinions, then you probably do have less experience and your opinion is of a 22 year old. Not that it does not count, just that it might be less informed, or more emotional, it depends on the topic. But, of course, each generation has their own view of the world, and their own experience in the era they grow up in, and most people want to know about their view. We have a jelly about your age who I think the collective strongly values his opinion and input, @DominicX. It really is about what he says, not his actual age.

@janbb I don’t see how your opinion would be dismissed because of your age. I think that is a mistake by those doing it. People who are very young are dismissing you? That I could see. But usually by the time we hit our 40’s we realize how much we don’t know, and that it is true time gives us some wisdom, and so respecting our elders opinions becomes even more real. The only time I might dismiss, or make an excuse for an older persons opinion is if they were incredibly sheltered and provincial, or racist.

Coloma's avatar

I enjoy people of all ages, but yes, I do feel strongly about age appropriate dialogue and content. I have had a few experiences with some very young teens on here and I am not thrilled about very young kids being part of a collective that contains much, shall we say, ‘sensitive’ subject matter.

I do not like the idea that a 14 yr. old can read NSFW questions and participate in adult content.

Mariah's avatar

Age correlates with wisdom and life outlook, but as with all correlations, there are outliers. Unfortunately some people read too closely into correlations and make assumptions right off the bat (which can be rather irritating for those outliers).

marinelife's avatar

I have not thought a lot about age and Fluther. I do try to be careful how I respond to young users, because I remember how earth shattering everything was when I was in my teens.

I think your contributions would always be valued, @janbb, becaue of their content.

pshizzle's avatar

People can track you on the Internet. I once heard this story: Once, a 14 year old girl met another “14 year old girl” on the Internet.The other “14 year old girl” coaxed the real 14 year old girl into revealing her age. Then, the “14 year old girl” coaxed her into saying that she plays soccer in Galveston, Texas, on the team with red jerseys. (I made up the city and state to protect identites) Then the “14 year old girl” who was really an undercover male cop, told her the value of keeping your identity safe over the Internet with strangers.

MissAnthrope's avatar

For most intents and purposes, no. I know plenty of people older than me that are ridiculously immature and I also know plenty of people younger than me that have their shit WAAAAY more in order than I do. Age is only a number.

jim_ferd's avatar

It really depends on what site and what the interaction is. On Fluther age doesn’t really matter—if you have a good idea or solution to a problem why would it matter how old you are. In other instances it might matter more (the most obvious is dating/relationship sites).

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