Though the highest majority of social media users fall in the 18-29 range, 43% of Americans over 65 (up from 26% just three years ago) now use at least one social networking site, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
From Google and Facebook to Instagram and Skype, seniors are becoming increasingly active online, and it’s a very good thing. In many cases, grandchildren are teaching their grandparents and grandfriends how to use these connectivity tools, fostering stronger integenerational relationships and breaking down all kinds of stereotypes (i.e. seniors can’t use computers, seniors think the internet is scary, young people don’t care about their older relatives or their history, etc.). Besides that, young people often make the best teachers and tutors when it comes to engaging older adults in social media and computer use — though Ellie Doff, who teaches an insanely popular iPad course at a Massachusetts retirement community, is a wonderful exception.
In “Grandparents Gone Wired,” DoSomething.org and HooplaHa compiled some field research on the subject:
Today, there are a growing number of community- and web-based programs, software, tools, accessories and training modules that can move even the most computer-apprehensive senior to embrace technology. Responding to this trend, many senior living communities now offer educational opportunities like Ellie Doff’s iPad course; some even include the option for resident participation in a community-wide network. Learn more about the fascinating world wide web of possibilities via our Technology blog channel.
Talk back: Are the seniors in your life “wired?” If not, what is holding them back?