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ABSTRACTIt can be defined that having social relationships help Paper

Words: 1419, Paragraphs: 27, Pages: 5

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Relationship

. ABSTRACT

It can be defined that having social relationships help in aging well. Many of our older adults are living alone social media helps them to engage in meaningful social contact; by joining online social networks. Social media also helps in the clinical practice. It can be used to enhance diagnosis, treatments of specific disorders and conditions. It can also help to overcome loneliness, releasing stress, and self- efficacy. However with the rise of social media, new threats emerge for older adults.

3. INTRODUCTION

Maintaining social relationships is deeply considered as one of the key elements of aging well. Geographical distance to family, diminished power or time-consuming commitment such as caregiving may hold back the older adults from satisfying the need for social contact, with the risk that these adults are alone, but have less opportunity to involve in social contact. Social media may control these barriers as online social networks and online discussion forums can be used to join in social contact regardless of location or time. Moreover, social media provides new prospects to be engrossed in social contact, to provide and receive support, and to increase feelings of control. A number of research projects are directly being undertaken using information and communications technology (ICT) to clear the way for older adults’ participation in online social networking and online communities. An example is the project TAO (Third Age Online), which is funded under the second call of the European Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme, which aimed at funding research for new technologies to socially link older adults. With an escalating number of older adults using the Internet, social media use among older adults is continuously developing. As of April 2012, half of the adults aged 65 years and older in the USA are now online, and every third online senior (34%) uses social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Social media applications are also considered as other helpful features in telehealth and telecare services.

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Social media in general depends on computer-integrated communication and is defined as tools and policy with the objective to consume, create, share, and alter user-generated content. Furthermore, these applications can be used to interrelate with other users through combined projects, blogs, content communities, social networking sites, practical game worlds or social worlds. A related concept is Web 2.0 that describes web content as being created and modified by a range of users. Social networking sites are web-based services where individuals can display a public profile and a list of other users with whom they share a connection, as well as search profiles and lists of other users.

4. THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Participation in social media can orbit from quite passive behavior such as reading posts and online discussions (often called lurking) up to active engagement by posting, blogging or uploading multimedia content. It is possible to address a broad audience of community members with posts or messages, but also single persons or subgroups can be addressed. Privacy of these messages varies depending on the network, the application under use (e.g. personal message, restricted discussion board, open forum), and the user otherwise (e.g., nickname or real name). The number of shared personal information spans from exterior information such as chitchatting and suggesting (“liking”) web content up to revealing conditions and disarrays or other personal experiences. Online sections like Senior Net, online social networks, and other platforms that are concretely addressing older users are growing heavily.

Bearing in mind the originality of the concept of social media and the numerous intercession possibilities for older adults, it seems punctual to scrutinize the social media use in older age from the eyes of a gerontologist.

A literature search was carried out in July and August 2012 (the full literature list can be requested from the author).

With the objective of giving a wide overview of existing knowledge and gaps in social media use of older adults, this contribution addresses prerequisites in social media use, its potential in clinical practice, and possible negative consequences of social media use.

5. Prerequisites in social media use

Important prerequisites in social media use are sufficient functional capacity to use a computer or a web-enabled device in a meaningful way as well as the adoption of ICT-related knowledge in general and of social media in particular. Then, attitudes towards and motivations for social media use will be presented. Last, by identifying shortcomings of older adults’ current social media use, ways to overcome barriers will be depicted.

6. Functional capacity

A considerable number of older adults suffers from functional limitations that hinder them from using technology in a comparable way as younger adults do, such as limited cognitive and perceptual abilities. Limitations like blindness may, despite assistive technology, even prevent the use of online social networks if no further assistance is available.

Further, despite objectively sufficient capacity, attitudes and beliefs on insufficient functional capacity have been found to constrain ICT use of older adults. Investigating general ICT acceptance in older age often reveals computer anxiety and general negative views towards ICT use. Lee and colleagues rated identified different kinds of perceived barriers, such as intrapersonal (e.g., “I am too old for it”), functional (e.g., related to memory decline, spatial orientation), structural (e.g., “cost too much to own a computer”), and interpersonal (e.g., “no one teaches me how”) barriers. In general, barriers were identified different kinds of perceived barriers, such as intrapersonal (e.g., “I am too old for it”), with increasing age of the users.

These perceived barriers make older adults a population which might not as easily adopt as the new generations.

7. Adoption of ICT- and social media-related knowledge

An important prerequisite of ICT use in general is a certain web proficiency; concepts like browser, server, search engine, etc. need to be adopted to understand the process of searching and accessing websites and applications. On top of these general concepts, additional knowledge is necessary for using social media. First, terms and rights of online social networks and websites where personal and other information is stored should be understood, as well as knowledge on how the company behind the online social network uses personal data and if it distributes these data to other companies.

Second, application-specific knowledge on functionalities to engage in consuming, creating and sharing social media content is necessary. Social media use of older adults has to date mainly been investigated as participating in online discussions and instant messaging; only few older adults engage in actually creating content such as uploading pictures or videos. It is expected that with availability of user-friendly mobile applications (e.g., on tablets or smartphones), social media will be used more readily by older adults in the next years.

identified different kinds of perceived barriers, such as intrapersonal (e.g., “I am too old for it”),

functional (e.g., related to memory decline, spatial orientation), structural (e.g., “cost too much to own

a computer”), and interpersonal (e.g., “no one teaches me how”) barriers [7]. In general, barriers rated less constraining with higher income and higher education, but perceived as more cowith increasing age of the users [7]. These perceived barriers make older amight not as easily adopt and use ICT applications and social media as younger generations.

identified different kinds of perceived barriers, such as intrapersonal (e.g., “I am too old for it”),

functional (e.g., related to memory decline, spatial orientation), structural (e.g., “cost too much to own

a computer”), and interpersonal (e.g., “no one teaches me how”) barriers [7]. In general, barriers were rated less constraining with higher income and higher education, but perceived as more constraining with increasing age of the users [7]. These perceived barriers make older adults a population which might not as easily adopt and use ICT applications and social media as younger generations.

8. Attitudes towards social media use

Most of the reviewed studies focused on novice participants and followed them over a limited period of time, so that mainly the reception and less the process of sharing and co-creating user-generated content has been investigated. Upon first encounter, reception of social media such as online social networks is quite negative for several reasons. First of all, some online social networks have received media attention on problems with data privacy protection, which resulted in negative attitudes towards the “brand” of a social network. This may prevent older adults from joining these networks. A second reason for negative perceptions is that novices perceive a lack of code of social conduct in online communities and are thus reluctant to participate in these communities. This is due to the fact that online social norms differ from offline social contact. In offline contexts, behavior is quite formal except between friends, kin, and

About the author

This sample essay is completed by Harper, a Social Sciences student. She studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. All the content of this paper is just her opinion on ABSTRACTIt can be defined that having social relationships help and should not be seen as the way of presenting the arguments.

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