My week 2 blog – filled with my aunt’s nostalgia and my own curiosity for old Yugoslavian TV programs, hopefully, provided a detailed enough glimpse into the ways of ‘vintage’ media of Eastern Europe. Aware of everything I learned through my conversation with her, I re-visited the topic of media but this time with my curiosity shifting towards how the internet changed her life and perception of media spaces and practices. But before I could get her in-depth explanation of this matter, I was shocked to find out she owns more ‘gadgets’ than I do.
When asked why she owns a tablet, a laptop, 2 smartphones and a desktop computer, she replies: ” don’t each of these have their own little features? Sometimes I like to switch from one to another and keep one in each room of my home for better access. ”
She adds to that saying that regardless of her age, she likes to stay in the loop and make sure she’s all caught up with whatever is going on in the world.
” According to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among those 65 and older grew 150 percent between 2009 and 2011, the largest growth in a demographic group. Furthermore, their 2012 study showed that of those that go online, 71 percent do so daily and 34 percent use social media. The elderly use these tools to bridge the geographic gap between them and their loved ones far away and as a way to re-connect with friends from a far-off time. ” (Kamiel, 2016).
Furthermore, Kamiel writes that studies have shown that internet has become an excellent method for battling loneliness among the older generations and has helped them reduce isolation and other depressive symptoms. My aunt seems to agree with this point by adding onto it and saying that as she gets older, it may be significantly more difficult to be in certain places at the right time in order to meet up with people, do shopping, watch movies or learn a language even. The Internet seems to wrap all of it up for her and offer a variety of activities that involve communication, entertainment and access to information and knowledge, all at her convenience.
” Connecting with family members and friends is just one way the internet has positively impacted the lives of older adults. Getting online also gives seniors a tool for managing and researching health issues and a way to increase brain activity. ” (Matsuura 2017).
This is yet another aspect my aunt is quite happy about; crossing vast distances in a second with a single message. Despite being almost 62, she acknowledges the bond we have with technology that allows us to do so much with minimal effort. This is something I touched on in my week 1 blog where I talked quite a bit about how suddenly removing all this technology that allows us so much, would hinder us significantly.
We often have concerns that Internet may change things for the worse but we need to consider the positive impacts it has on lives of people with numerous obstacles, whether they may be geographical, financial, or health-related.
1. Matsuura, A. (2017). How social media and technology are changing the lives of the elderly. Deseret News. Retrieved from: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865685302/How-social-media-and-technology-are-changing-the-lives-of-the-elderly.html
2. Kamiel, A. (2016). A Hot Trend: The Internet, Social Media & The Elderly. Huffington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anita-kamiel-rn-mps/older-people-social-media_b_9191178.html