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It’s Time To Help Your Grandma With Social Media

by • July 13, 2015 • Creative CampaignsComments Off on It’s Time To Help Your Grandma With Social Media6405

Think millennials are the fastest growing age group on social media? You are way off! That award goes to Americans aged 74 and up. And it’s millennials that are helping it happen.

First, some numbers. In 2014, The Pew Research Center report found that:

  • – 6 out of 10 American seniors 65+ now use the internet.
  • – 5 out of 10 them use social networking.
  • – And 71% of internet users aged 65+ go online every single day.

Also Read: A New App That Helps Identify Vulnerable People

But perhaps more important than their numbers are the reasons our grandparents are logging on. Perhaps no surprise here; like everyone else, they want to connect with their friends and family more easily.

In fact, 75% of wired seniors say they go online for community. And it’s no wonder that with declining mobility, 58% use the internet to shop.

No Senior Left Behind

So what’s the problem? Many seniors are intimidated by the steep learning curve involved in getting online and navigating the interwebs. In the same report:

  • – 66% of offline seniors say they would need help to get online.
  • – 56% of wired seniors say they would need help to use social networking sites.

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Teens to the Rescue!

With the help of programs like Cyber-Seniors, young people are being paired with their elders to do more than get them online. They’re helping our older generations get INVOLVED, reach out, and build their own communities.

If you’ve ever rolled your eyes when your mom asked you what LOL means, or dreaded the forced nursing home visit, go ahead and grab some tissues while you watch this:

The mentoring program began as a high school project, launched by teenage sisters Macaulee (16) and Kascha Cassaday (18) in 2009. The two helped their grandparents get on email, Facebook, and Skype, transforming their family’s ability to communicate on a regular basis.

The sisters then developed a teaching manual and recruited their friends to take the tech to a local retirement home. Today, the project – and its highly-decorated documentary – hosts community screenings and webinars designed to inspire similar projects across the world.

This is not just an American story, either. In Romania, British telecommunications company Vodafone launched a campaign and television documentary under the title “Sunday Grannies”.

Two widows suffering from loneliness and the habit of still cooking meals for an entire family set up a Facebook page to invite people to their homes for dinner. And the effort went nuts! The Facebook page became the 2nd largest in the country. The “grannies” hit the news, welcomed celebrities for dinner, got their own cooking show, and landed their famous lemon pie in supermarkets.

Meanwhile, Vodafone 4G smartphone sales saw a 78.8% increase in sales, of course. Which suggests that seniors may well be the most overlooked market on the planet – and also calls for some caution.

In the adorable Cyber-Seniors teaching manual, for example, you won’t find the words “spam” or “scam.” And that leaves significant and urgent room for improvement when it comes to wiring the group most vulnerable to digital criminals.

Provided we include Snopes, basic digital safety, and Nigerian princes in the senior vocabulary, though, social networking appears to be having a positive effect on the health of our aging populations. While we may sometimes think of our smartphones as a leash, for instance, 82% of 65+ Americans describe theirs as “freedom.

The effort to include our older citizens in the online community does much to close an ever-widening generation gap, add to our communal knowledge, and bring us all closer together.

To me, that sounds like technological goodness for every generation.

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