How Older Adults Can Benefit from Social Media
Social media isn’t just a teenage trend anymore. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of adults over the age of 65 are already on Facebook, and that number is growing. However, some seniors remain wary of using Social media sites, and their concerns are certainly understandable. Read on to learn the answers to some of the most common questions older adults have about social media.
Is it safe? I keep hearing all this talk about scams targeting older adults.
For the most part, yes, it is safe to use social media. It is true that there are scams viruses, identity thieves, and more on social media sites and other parts of the internet, but, just like in the real world, common sense and caution are usually sufficient to avoid harm. Antivirus protection software should be installed on computers and users should be careful when interacting with people they don’t know. It’s also wise to refrain from clicking on suspicious links, responding to sketchy messages, and sharing sensitive personal information over insecure connections,
Why should bother with social media? Why not just use a telephone if I want to talk to someone?
Just like younger generations, older adults appreciate the value of being able to connect with friends and relatives without having to travel to see them. Additionally, virtual communication has the advantage of not requiring live interaction, which means time difference schedules don’t get in the way of keeping in touch. Further, individuals, especially the most introverted ones, are glad to have the option of engaging with others only when it’s convenient for them. However, individuals, especially the most introverted ones, are glad to have the option of engaging with others only when it’s convenient for them.
None of my friends are on social media, so why should care?
Being able to communicate with friends isn’t the only benefit of social media. Businesses, celebrities, politicians government agencies and more are increasingly reliant on social media sites for sharing and spreading the news. It can also be fun to connect with people from “the good old days.” Childhood friends and high school classmates, for example, can easily be found by searching on Social media sites. In a way, social media is like a worldwide phonebook or contact directory.
What site should use? There are so many; what are the differences between them?
The best place for older adults to get started in the virtual social world is Facebook. That’s where they’re likely to have the most success finding people and content they care about, and the user interface is relatively uncomplicated. Twitter is another option, but it’s more fast-paced, and the abbreviations and lingo may confuse inexperienced users. There are more specialized options, too, such as Reddit, which is essentially a massive discussion forum. Tumblr, which houses blogs on virtually any subject imaginable. Pinterest, a source for creative ideas for crafting, cooking, and more; and Instagram, a social photo-sharing site.
Older adults may feel overwhelmed by the idea of entering a whole new system of communication, but, as the answers above show, those who are willing to try out social media sites have a lot to gain. They are also likely to find that young people are happy to help them get registered on social media sites and then “show them the ropes.” In conclusion, increased social engagement is a huge benefit that social media has to offer older adults and more and more of them take advantage of that benefit every day.