Social Media and the Elderly
Currently, social media serves as a platform to disseminate news and information, share experiences and connect with friends and family. Many might think that social media is the exclusive domain of the younger generation. However, many of older adults have adopted it to keep up with the times as well as their old friends and younger family members.
For Thailand, research shows that the elderly uses internet 4 hours per day in 2018. The most popular application is 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.
The benefits of social media for seniors
- Keep up with the community/trend
- Reading new articles
- Learn new things
- Reduce social isolation
- Overcome boredom
- Remain close with loved ones
- Rekindle friendships from the past/find new friends
The negative effects
If the elderly spends time too much on social media, there could be a negative impact.
- Negative impact on health
- Eye strain
- Neck/back pain causing by wrong sitting position
- Using social media before going to bed can cause sleep deprivation
- 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 and sense of empowerment, and supporting their relationships regardless of time and location. However, the elderly should not spend too much time on social media (less than 2-3 hours a day) and avoid using it before bedtime.
For more information:
Bangkok Longevity Center, Bangkok Hospital
2nd floor, Wattanosoth Hospital Buidling
Call 0 2310 3755 or 1719
Fax 0 2310 3335