Social Media and the Elderly
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Currently, social media serves as a platform to disseminate news, information, experience sharing and connecting with friends and family. Many might think that social media is the exclusive domain for the younger generation. However, many of elderly have adopted social media to pace up with time as well as keep themselves connected with friends and other family members.
A 2018 research shows that in Thailand the elderly use internet for 4 hours per day. Top used applications are Line, Facebook and YouTube respectively. The most popular activities are sending messages or videos through Line, sharing contents through Line or Facebook, updating status, uploading photos and videos and commenting on Facebook.
Benefits of social media for older people
- Keep up to date with the community/trend
- Reading new articles
- Learn new things
- Reduce social isolation
- Overcome boredom
- Remain in touch with loved ones
- Rekindle friendships from the past/find new friends
The negative impact
- Stress on overall on health
- Eye strain
- Neck/back pain caused by wrong sitting posture
- Using social media before going to bed can cause insomnia
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of face to face communication
- Some may lose money and too much time
- Might receive unreliable/misleading information
Technology can play an important role helping the elderly to keep social connections. It can improve their quality of life by reducing their sense of isolation contributing to their psychological well-being, sense of empowerment and supporting their relationships regardless time and location. However, they should not spend too much time on social media (ideally 2-3 hours a day) and avoid using it before bedtime.