Social Media for Seniors
When it comes to the internet, many seniors are just as tech-savvy as young people. Of course there are those who swear they would never be able to navigate the World Wide Web, but a surprising number are completely comfortable online.
According to a study conducted by AARP, 70 percent of senior respondents had at least one social media account. Nearly 6 in 10 computer users aged 65 and older have a Facebook account. In fact, senior citizens make up the fastest demographic on Facebook. What’s drawing so many seniors to social media sites?
Benefits of Social Media for Senior Citizens
Social media has virtually exploded in recent years – for people of all ages. Here are the top five reasons most people flock to Facebook (and the like).
- Keeping in touch. For seniors with kids and grandkids in other states, social media is a fantastic tool for maintaining communication. Social networks allow you to read real-time updates of family members’ activities, watch videos and share pictures. You can also have conversations with old friends whom you might not normally have stayed in touch with.
- Learning new things. Even though seniors are out of school, that doesn’t mean they want to stop learning. The internet opens up an entire world – available at the touch of a button. You can learn new languages, stay current with world events, and much more.
- Meeting new people. Whether you’re interested in dating or simply making new friends, the internet offers platforms for both.
- For entertainment. You can find anything online – including favorite older television shows, movies, and music videos. You can read e-books, newspapers, play games – by yourself or with family members – and just about anything else.
- Asking questions. Who still goes to the library to do research? Not many. With the internet, research is a breeze. Asking questions couldn’t be easier. Although, you do have to be careful wading through the wealth of information out there. Not everything on the internet is true or verified.
Be Aware of the Risks
Just like not everything online is true, not everything is safe either. Marsha Collier, author of Facebook and Twitter for Seniors for Dummies, cautions seniors to remember that privacy is not guaranteed on the internet. “Con artists are good online,” she says, “So you’ve really got to keep your antenna up to know who is real and who isn’t.”
Be wary of posting personal information online. While you may believe your details are only visible to family and friends, this may not necessarily be true. Check your privacy settings and use caution when sharing personal details and photos.
Nataki Clarke, vice president for digital marketing at AARP, is a firm believer in the benefits of social media for seniors. “As we age, we tend to become more isolated, and I think social networking helps alleviate that.” With someone to talk to any time of day, anywhere in the world, social media can be a remarkable tool. Just use it wisely.