Social Media and Technology for Seniors – Best Platforms for Staying Connected
Social media is in the headlines daily. Whether it’s a tweet from a celebrity, politician, or news outlet, headlines about Facebook, or viral videos from YouTube, social media, which is free and easy to use, has become a regular part of our lives.
Humans are predisposed to connect and the quality of these connections impacts our physical, emotional, and mental health. According to Mental Health America (MHA), research shows that social connection increases happiness, improves health, and lengthens life expectancy. Additionally, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), reports a positive correlation between social interaction and the general well-being of older adults in particular.
It’s not uncommon for seniors to feel lonely and isolated, so staying in touch with loved ones, especially during the pandemic, is essential. So what are seniors to do – like all age groups around the world, use social media!
Facebook - Users 65 years and older are the fastest-growing group on Facebook which remains the most popular social media site, even as teens are abandoning the platform for other sites like TikTok, Snap Chat, Instagram, etc. Seventy-nine percent of adults who use the Internet use Facebook, according to Pew Research Center data. If you want to use social media to stay in touch with loved ones, Facebook offers you access to the most people.
You can control your experience on Facebook to meet your needs, from custom friend groups to privacy settings, to choosing who can see your content or who friend request you. Whether you want to follow the news or just your grandchildren, connecting is easy on Facebook. You might also explore Facebook Messenger to video chat.
Skype – A popular video chat platform that makes it easy to talk to people you love, whether they’re across the globe or across the street. Don’t feel like doing a video call? You can use Skype as an instant messaging system or even make Internet phone calls on Skype. You can also do group video calls to include the whole family.
FaceTime – If you have an Apple product like an iPhone or iPad, you can video chat with others who have Apple devices. It’s as easy as making a phone call and is simple and easy to use. You can also Group FaceTime, again providing opportunities for multiple friends or family members to participate.
Zoom – Arguably 2020’s most popular video chat software. Zoom lets you do activities that you would normally do in person in a virtual setting. You can do group activities like yoga, bingo, eat dinner together or even watch a movie together.
Social Media 101 - Social media is perfectly safe—if you use it safely! It’s a great way to stay connected to those you already know and love or to enjoy programs and events remotely. Remember to treat the new people you meet on social media like you would any other stranger. Know that people can pretend to be someone they’re not, and never send money or personal information to strangers over the Internet. For help with using social media, you can find some excellent tips and guides on websites like AARP, Seniornet.org, or Seniortechclub.com.