There’s no doubt that social media usage took the world by a storm as the number of users has dramatically grown over the recent years. Even so, over the past year, there has been a surge in the number of older users who are especially enthusiastic to embrace the upcoming networking tools.
A couple of years ago, social networking domains were predominantly characterized by teenagers and youngsters. But now, new trends in the advancements of social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have extended reach to even the older members in the society.
The perceived positive impact of social media on seniors is perhaps the major cause of this trend. Nonetheless, not all seniors are on board with social media usage. Most of them, anxious about the eventual challenges faced by some of those already using these platforms.
The evidence of research shows that there is a steady growth in the number of seniors who sign up for social media services. This new trend is global and not just in the United States. The ability for internet usage through mobile devices has certainly accelerated this phenomenon.
Although the older generations have not necessarily invested much in activities such as
Social Media Use Among Senior Citizens
To better understand the use of social media, it’s crucial to examine some of the features that are persistent across the various types of online media.
One characteristic of social media is the ability for all users to participate, as everyone can give feedback and make their contributions regarding ongoing matters. This way, the ambiguity of the media audience is reduced, people can collaborate in conversations. Through social media, communication is quick and effective and communities can share in general interests such as sports or work and travel. Finally, there is increasing connectivity as links to various sites, resources and contacts are easily shareable.
We can define the senior citizens as those who are past the middle age, most likely above 60 years of age. In the communal sense, old people are better off with help from others in their daily activities.
For a long time now, and with good reason, it has been presumed that only the young found the need to use social media in their day to day lives. However, new trends indicate that older people as well progressively keep on being computer-literate. Besides that, the elderly in technology continue developing into regular internet users. As seen above, the promise of social media bringing people together applies even for older people.
Most of the credit should perhaps go to the families and friends who have inspired the elderly to find the use of social media. These circles of the elderly and their families and friends find benefit from using social media.
As the elderly may be sometimes alone in senior care or while their families are away working, social media has been able to keep them connected and enable them to check up on each other, such as through Facebook. In addition, it is amazing that the lives of senior citizens have transformed as they can find information regarding any diseases, disabilities or impairments when they are on their own.
The internet has played a crucial role in helping seniors stay home more. Not that they do not like to socialize, but older people are simply less mobile compared to the younger generations. Social networking presents a huge opportunity for the elderly to better make use of their energy while relaxed.
As a result of these new trends, businesses are taking advantage to conduct branding and expand their networking due to this boom in the elderly in technology. The use of technology allows the population of seniors to better access treatment and medicine, as businesses can now reach them through social media networks such as Facebook to deliver medicine. This even allows them to live healthier and longer.
Why is Social Media Use So Important for Seniors?
Social Media acts as a gathering place, where people of all generations connect and communicate based on mutual interests. Although pop culture can misinterpret the adoption of social media platforms by seniors, more of the elderly in technology continue to learn to use sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Skype, and Facebook. In recent times, more seniors use social media on the daily compared to those that read the daily newspaper.
Research shows that the demographic of 65-year-olds and more experiences rapid growth in social media usage. New trends estimate that more than 35% of people in this age group use social media sites. Moreover, this number is growing, and predictions show that by 2020, there will be more than 50 million seniors on social media platforms.
The Biggest Advantages of Social Media for Seniors
1. Staying connected
Through social media, everyone is able to stay in touch with their friends and families. The loved ones might be anywhere across the country or the globe, but the elderly in technology, they are only a few clicks away. Using video chatting utilities such as Skype lets the seniors see their family members and share their lives. Through Instagram and other picture sharing platforms, for example, one can see a collection of their grandchildren, children or old friends.
Social media remarkably streamlines communication among people, as instantaneous chats and video calls can get one seamlessly connected to others.
Although most seniors rely on emails as a primary means of contacting families, colleagues, and friends, there is an increased number of older people incorporating the use of social media for their daily communications. Just like other age groups, social media for seniors majorly involves sharing links, videos, photos, and status updates, while the number of contacts grows.
2. Taking advantage of health benefits
Social media for seniors opens up a door for enjoying key health benefits. For one, it can reduce loneliness, isolation and depression symptoms. As senior adults will start facing mobility challenges, moving out of the house to visit and spend time with family and other loved ones can be tough.
Nonetheless, senior adults regularly using social media can perform well intellectually, with improved health. Since social media helps to satisfy primary social needs, it acts as a mental stimulant, which keeps one’s mental health generally in check.
3. Bridging the inter generational gap
The younger generations might well assume that the older ones have a hard time when using technology. This stereotype continually fails to stand, as older generations make an effort to get deeper involved with technology.
Social media gives people common grounds to hold conversations on, starting with viral current occurrences and funny videos. This is a significant impact of social media on seniors as they can also find out and maybe catch up with the kinds of entertainment such as movies and music that are popular among the younger generations.
4. Sparks interests
This is similar to the previous point. However, social media, in this case, tailors your feeds according to your interests and topics that you enjoy, including traveling, health, sports, cooking and so on. Pinterest is a great example of this, as people will share links of new ideas that might spark the interest of the seniors. A social media page or a blog for any possible subject probably exists. Seniors can even use forums to discuss lifetime experiences, which is a timeless platform.
The options of research are so wide since all sorts of materials are available on the internet and sharable through social networks. Even the retired senior citizens need to gather information, after all, the eldest people are usually the wisest. They can always find useful information, and even use social media connections to seek for more. through social media, they can ask questions and get to learn based on their curiosity. Questions can range from personal to business oriented. Through a site such as LinkedIn, their questions can get answered by the online community.
5. Getting news
Besides getting information about what seniors want, social media for seniors acts as a great news source. Twitter allows one to keep up with local events, a feature that can be very useful for anyone of any age group. A quick search is enough to show new trends as well as popular articles. The important issues happening around you and the globe never get past you.
6. Starting a Business
Senior citizens and retirees also have great business ideas. A senior might need to sell things or even conduct training lessons. One might even be a freelance consultant owing to their many years of experience. Although the seniors are retired, it does not mean that they wouldn’t have any input for organizations.
However, they might not get hired based on their age. The elderly in technology can leverage social media and productivity tools and start their own business. The voluminous population on the
Eventual disadvantages for seniors using social media
Clearly, social media platforms have a lot of benefits to offer for older adults. If there are downsides, what are they?
1. Internet addictions
One negative impact of social media on seniors is the development of internet addiction. In a
Through excessive shutting of oneself indoors and preferring to be online on Twitter and Facebook to increase the number of followers and stir up conversations, a senior might lose the value of the physical world nearby. It would be better if the seniors could associate in the communal get-togethers as well.
The essence of physical activity cannot be undermined, as even the older and less mobile need to move about to maintain normal health. Internet addictions pose the threat of cutting these opportunities to be physically active as one stays glued to their screens.
This is one of the most committed crimes globally. Even among social media users, fraud is widespread. As for the majority of the elderly in technology, the concept of staying secure from fraudsters and hackers is not deep-rooted. This exposes them to fall victims of scammers on social media. The older people are sometimes helpless and easy to victimize. The scam artists use a variety of programs, techniques, and devices to propagate fraud on these poor old folk.
This calls for the seniors to remain conscious and safeguard their private information. Victims of online fraud may suffer mental unrest, stress-related problems, and other psychological issues. They may fall into financial losses by being lured to give up the
The use of social media for seniors comes with the concern of the exposure of private information on these platforms. Some might not be aware of the dangers of submitting some of their private information on social media sites. As some are ignorant about the privacy and licensing conditions on many sites, they may give access to malicious people their personal information. This may make them cybercrime victims in certain incidences.
4. Harassment and Bullying on social media
This is another unfortunate impact of social media on seniors. Crimes such as these befall unknowing senior citizens and are usually carried out by ruthless youngsters posting mean comments about the seniors. The youngsters attempt to show the seniors that they are beyond the social media age and that they do not belong there. These forms of bullying disturb the old ones and affect them psychologically.
The Bottom Line
Social media is no longer a thing for the youth, as more and more senior citizens keep getting on board.
Perhaps the advantages of using social media are what draws the majority of the seniors to this wave. They can enjoy the benefits of research, more efficient communication, and even bridge the gap between them and the younger generations. However, being exposed to fraud, as well as cyberbullying remain as some of the challenges that seniors might face when participating in the online community.
To enjoy the full benefits that social media provides for the elderly, one must remain wary of the associated downsides. This way, the seniors can have enriched daily routines as well.
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