Why should older people learn to use the internet and social media?

Couple Old On Beach.jpgTalk to any South African and very soon you will hear them mention family members living overseas, or friends who are globetrotters. This creates a sense of being left behind or discarded – they’re out of the loop and missing the little things that make family and friendship so vital to the human experience.
Younger people, who grew up with the internet and social media as commonplace, don’t quite grasp the impact this has on their parents or grandparents, and – very often – simply don’t have the time to explain to, or teach, older friends and family how to use smart gadgets or electronic devices.

Older people shouldn’t be left behind. Here’s how to catch up!

  1. Be connected to family members
    With emigration and ‘semigration’ such a fact of life for many South African families, it’s vital that older people should have regular contact with their children and grandchildren. Being able to use Skype or FaceTime is now a necessity.
  2. Stay in touch with old and new friends
    Social media lets older people find lost friends and make new ones. Facebook can identify what people enjoy most and provide links or adverts to things they regularly engage in.
  3. Keep up with news and events
    Social media has replaced the old wireless news bulletin and community newspaper, but it hasn’t taken away the need for people to know what’s going on. Twitter has “Popular in your network” emails, allowing users not to miss anything.
  4. Learn new hobbies or interests
    Most people have various hobbies during their lives. Finding others with a common interest can lead to new friends and excursions. Pinterest is a valuable shortcut tool for gathering information on hobbies and collections.
  5. Gain confidence
    Often, being alone can lead to depression. Interacting on social media can boost confidence so that a person ventures out, once again, to meet new people and explore new places. The ability to share a day’s events, in both words and pictures, is also tremendously satisfying.
  6. Discover new skills
    With the advent of smartphones and tablets, many people enjoy taking pictures of their experiences. Learning how to sort out and tidy up a collection of pictures of their activities can be fun. Simple photo editing tools on both tablet and laptop can help keep a neat record of their new interests – being able to share with family and friends far away.
  7. Socialise online and in real life
    Discovering an interest page via Facebook and Twitter can lead to making friends in a club or hobby group locally. Travel opportunities can also open new doors of experience and friendship. That Mozambican cruise may not be so far-fetched after all.
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