Could it be possible that older people, or Senior Citizens are increasing their use for social media? Well, Facebook, Twitter and the rest are platforms that have been associated with the young generation, so it's hard to believe that there could be some social media activity coming from the older segment of the population. In line with this, this article attempts to explain social media and how Senior Citizens are relating to it.
What studies are saying about this topic
Research depicts that quite a good number of Senior Citizens are reluctant to adapt to technology. There discomfort with technology mainly arise from the fact that many of them are riddled with different challenges of life, which makes it difficult for them to embrace what the world has to offer in the 21st century.
Because of the same reasons, online communication is also becoming a challenge to most of them, so it would be perfectly right to say that Senior Citizens are not enjoying the benefits of going social online. In one study of older people who neither used the internet or social media, it was reported that 56% would require some assistance if they needed to use social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
These adults already know the benefits of connecting with family and friends online, but they are somehow hesitant to adopt it. It's so unfortunate that only 24% of these seniors would be willing to join social media and start connecting with family and friends without needing any form of assistance. Another 20% of these senior adults were quite unsure about the debate, so they were not able to give a precious answer. They were not confident enough of their social media capabilities.
However, there's also a small segment of Senior individuals who use social media to connect with family and friends. To them, using the web is part and parcel of their lives, so they view it in a positive way. These are the same individuals who don't need any form of assistance because they are accustomed to using their respective social media platforms. So the issue relies with the larger segment of Senior Citizens who are currently not using the web to socialize.
There's also a tendency for older people to get hooked up to what the internet once they discover the benefits of using it. In the same study, it was reported that 71% of them would visit the web almost on a daily basis. 11% would visit the web 3-5 times in a week. And if they has powerful handy internet gadgets, they would visit the web with greater efficiency, meaning it would increase the times in which they chatted with family and friends. The statistics are promising for both broadband and smartphone users. Once they had these equipments in place, they showed a tendency of visiting the web quite often.
Those who don't value social media think it doesn't impact them in any way, so they've chosen to ignore it completely. Of course this reluctance has also been influenced by the life challenges they are facing, hence resisting what technology has to offer. On the other hand, those who have discovered the wonders of social media tend to integrate it into their lives despite their advanced age. They are convinced that social media is beneficial to them. 79% of them even agree that if you don't have internet access readily, you are missing out a great deal of information and opportunity. 47% strongly support this fact without any doubt. Majority of them even confess that finding information or staying connected to the world is now easier than ever, thanks to the web.
Older social media users tend to socialize with friends and families more often that those who don't use the web at all. And because they are not using the web, their opinion on the benefits of using the web is varied, with some 100% convinced that the internet doesn't impact lives.
Social media bridges the gap
For those who have discovered what social media can do, they are excited of the fact that they can connect with their families or friends who live in far away places. Compared to Senior Citizens who never use social media, regular Facebook users have been reported to increase the rate at which they are connecting with their loved ones. This connection happens, either through social media platforms, in person or through telephone.
81% of Senior Social media users admit that they connect with others almost on a daily basis, or something close to that. However, the percentage stands at 71 for those who go online but do not use social media platforms. And lastly, that percentage descends downwards to 63% for those who don't use the web at all.
Furthermore, the correlation between social media use and increased socialization is also affected by demographic factors such as age, income of individuals, residence and so forth.
Pew Research Survey was conducted on Senior Citizens and how they were skeptic to start enjoying the benefits of technology and how it was relevant to their lives. Because they don't really see the benefits of interacting with others over the web, they don't always see the reason why they should look for devices that would let them access social media quite easily. When they were asked, their reason for this was pegged on lack of internet value, as opposed to the price of the devices.
But it's worthwhile to note that social media usage among older Americans is on the rise, though it has not hit the majority status yet. This is also attributed to the fact that accessing the web is much easier in developed countries than in under-developed countries. Finally, there's also a tendency for more older women to use the web to connect with family and friends compared to their older male counterparts.
It's going to take some hard work to convince the older segment of the population to begin using social media for their own benefit. That's because majority of them are skeptic about new technology. Others even believe that handling technology is something suitable for the younger generation, hence social media is just out of question.