Technology: How the Internet and Social Media Benefit You Mentally, Emotionally, and Communally

It’s no secret that depression, loneliness, and isolation are more common as adults get older. Whether it’s due to poor health, geography, or feelings of uselessness, many older people feel cut off by and from society. One positive trend that addresses this issue may surprise you: the increased use of the Internet and social media platforms. A Pew Research Center report found that “for the first time more than half of older adults (defined as those 65 and older) were Internet users,” and that “59% of seniors report they go online.”

Social Media Connects 

So, which social media platforms resonate most with the 65+ crowd? The older and wiser group has enthusiastically taken to Facebook to stay connected to family members near and far, re-connect with long-lost friends and acquaintances, and make new ones through shared interests and causes.

You don’t have to dig too deep to figure out why these folks love Facebook, which was created in 2004 when today’s 65-year-olds were a mere 52. The idea of seeing their grandkids – and showing them off via postings – is a great motivator. Staying up-to-date with friends who live across the country or halfway around the world keeps those relationships humming, and finding new like-minded people to discuss their passions can be downright thrilling, even more so when they’re local and can gather as a group.

Facebook: grandparents' new brag book.

As one 61-year-old father recalled upon finally joining Facebook: “Initially, I think I viewed it as something ‘newfangled’ that only the younger computer-generation used,” he said. “Then, like probably everybody, I started to become hooked as I saw just how expansive it is, and how much it seems to literally touch so many lives.”

Older adults have also embraced Skype as a handy visual communication tool, as well as Twitter to keep up with their favorite artists, celebrities, and politicians.

The Internet – It Can Be Good for You

We all know that knowledge is power, but what this group discovered is that the fastest way to gain that knowledge is through the Internet. Learning doesn’t stop with age and they educate themselves on health and financial issues, find new recipes, read book reviews, watch their favorite musicians on YouTube, even join discussion groups in the privacy of their own homes. In other words, the Internet allows America’s largest demographic to remain actively engaged with what’s going on in the world outside, thus adding relevance to their day-to-day lives.

So, perhaps the most crucial reason you should and need to learn about the Internet and social media is that both can help improve your mental and physical wellness. Reading articles and blogs on the Internet will keep your mind stimulated and can increase your self-confidence. Watching videos of your favorite artists can help you feel youthful, and staying connected with friends and family can help prevent loneliness, isolation, and symptoms of depression.

Indeed, for the housebound, the Internet can often mean the difference between living and merely existing.

Last updated: 12.03.2018

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.

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