Pri­va­cy on Face­book is a Con­cern for Old­er Adults


Researchers at the Media Effects Research Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University have deduced that older adults are more concerned about the privacy of their posts on Facebook than the younger ones.

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According to the research published in journal Telematics and Informatics, older adults are more suspicious about who is viewing their posts and this might deter them from using the social media platform.

Participants of the study, aged between 65-95, listed keeping in touch, monitoring other’s updates and sharing photos as the main reason for using Facebook.

“The biggest concern is privacy and it’s not about revealing too much, it’s that they assume that too many random people out there can get their hands on their information,” said S. Shyam Sundar, Professor, Media Effects Research Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University.

While studying people’s perception of Facebook, the team of researchers found out that the elderly users were concerned about the privacy as well as the trivial posts appearing on the platform and suggested that these two are the top reasons for them to stay away from Facebook.

The researchers pointed out that in order to gain popularity among old-aged users, Facebook will need to ramp up its efforts to enhance privacy settings on the platform.

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They also suggested that Facebook serves as a communication bridge between younger and older generations and it’s usually the younger ones who make the older ones join the social networking website.

“In particular, unlike younger people, most older adults were encouraged by younger family members to join Facebook so that they could communicate. This implies that older adults’ interaction via social networking sites can contribute to effective inter-generational communication,” added Eun Hwa Jung, Assistant Professor of communications and new media, National University of Singapore.

The researchers asked the participants with a Facebook account their reason to join and their experience with the platform. They also asked those without a Facebook account their reason for not joining the social media network.

Since the entire group of elderly studied by the researcher resided in a retirement home, the researchers said that future research will be done on the use of Facebook

(With inputs from IANS)

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