My point is that the elderly aren't necessarily hypocrites. They have a very different lifestyle than you do. The challenges they face are different, what they're capable of is different.
My father is perfectly able-bodied, but you can only golf so many times a week and I think he's gotten sucked into the news and his screen. He just doesn't have anything else meaningful to do with his time.
That experience is, of course, self selected for folks who have stuff that they will do with younger folks like me... mostly playing music. But I believe that folks that age are capable of a whole damn lot, assuming that they didn't do a shit-ton of coke or something in their 30s.
My dad is pretty far into Parkinsons, and I think that the disease has more to do with why he doesn't do stuff than anything. It's not that he's not "capable" of stuff... it's that he doesn't want to. That is a fine distinction, I know, and I can see how folks don't think it is even a real distinction. My mom describes the issue with Parkinsons as "I've fallen and I don't want to get up".
I wouldn't bother typing that all out, except that I feel like there is a point worth mentioning to people who don't have a lot of older friends:
there's nothing necessary about stopping doing a lot of what we do as we get older.
Eventually, we all get pain and/or a loss of senses, but it's not (I believe) as completely show-stopping. We don't have to give up on living.
I went rock climbing with a 68-year-old last month, and though the climb wasn't super hard, it was certainly a run for my money... it was 5.6R grade IV, and she led the 45M run out pitch, and the 6km of hiking on the return didn't seem to phase her.
Her feeling was that a lot of folks just stop trying around age 60. Their goals become "let's take the RV to AK some time this year" instead of "I'm going to write the best novel that I have written this year" (that was one of her goals).
She is exceptional, I think.
Still, my point is: if you can golf, you can do a lot more than do FB when you're not golfing.
And I hope there are folks who remind me of that as I approach those ages.
I don't understand why you disregard selection bias as insignificant. That factor deserves more than an offhand, brushed-off aside.
The reality is, the old people who you regularly interact with are XYZ. We can't conclude anything about old people in general based on your personal experiences.
> My point is that the elderly aren't necessarily hypocrites. They have a very different lifestyle than you do. The challenges they face are different, what they're capable of is different.
IMO the thread continued at the level of intensity from where it started.
Hence why I state that there is a bias to begin with.
The point of my comment is that other people are possibly engaged the same process but without realizing their bias, and thereby making an unwarranted conclusion about all older folks in general.
I am fascinated to find out how much it actually matters to longevity, because when millennial get into nursing homes, we're not likely to have any problem continuing to find purpose in the most arbitrary of things. Today there are puzzle corners, eventually there are going to be WoW corners, VR corners.
Of course I'm more than a little nervous about facebook radicalization and scams, but we made sure she does things like not use her real photo and luckily my aunt that lives nearby is very tech-savvy and paranoid. But unfortunately facebook seems to be the best option for helping more isolated elderly people connect with their families.
Have you heard of NanaGram? (https://nanagram.co/). It's a service that regularly mails physical copies of photos to someone you choose, and it's one of the most "of course that should be a product" products that I've seen recently.
One of the big goals of the product is to increase interaction between loved ones. I wrote about this a bit more at https://nanagram.co/blog/niche-start — we have a feature, which allows you to list names and phone numbers of you and your siblings on a cover photo. I get reports all the time of grandparents who go down the list, dialing each grandkid to talk through the photos with them.
I think our prices are pretty solid and often hear that from customers. For $6.99 per month we mail 5 photos and all you have to do is text or email them to us. We also have an annual plan which brings the price down to just under $6 per month.
The service also really shines when you have multiple senders (siblings, cousins, etc) using it as we curate photos from the group via reminders.
We recently had the 5-photo plan set to $7.99 but unlocked savings on the fulfillment side, passing those on to customers.
Pricing has been a challenge for sure, as on one hand I've always firmly believed the product should be accessible to people from all walks of life, and on the other there is a reality of paying the bills.
If the grandkids banter all the time on facebook that's the real draw. The photos are just an initial obvious benefit, it's much easier to explain a photo stream than chat threads to someone new to the internet. Facebook does a pretty good job at making interactions feel natural, much as I dislike them.
Morning tv programs and soap operas are designed especially for people like that.
The one in their bedroom was on most of the time. It usually only went off at night when my father moved to the couch in the living room to let my mother sleep.
For years after I moved out I had to have a TV on at all times or else the place I was in felt empty and too quiet. When I realized this about myself I cut cable out of my life and can barely stand the TV now. When we visit my mom, it's always on, and it's always on FOX. My father sat in front of it every day until he died of dementia. My mother can't break the habit now. Even when we visit she keeps it on and occasionally watches it instead of engaging with us and is making it very hard to visit.
Facebook also creates a divide between people that have Facebook and people that don't. It's especially weird when that divide is between you and your immediate family. Luckily I'm someone who isn't too bothered by it.
Although this may be limited to my personal experience, I don't notice it with the men. Some of them still have flip phones.
The difference here is that most seniors won't have that opportunity to adapt, due to age (time to live) or declining cognitive function.
Most recently, my mother has fallen into the outrage news & talk show cess pool. She'll happily watch history, knitting, antiques, wildlife shows. But once those programs are over, she reverts to the default channels.
I'd like someone to create Old People TV. Just happy feel good programming. And parental control type apps for seniors.
PS- Even worse are the ads preying on the elderly. Criminal.
E.g. sexuality. Those with a healthy sexuality are literally never the ones asking to protect the youth from it. It is always those for whom it is connected with shame and stigma. So the most safe route to become afraid of the sexualization of the youth seems to be to have shameful sedual thoughts yourself. And because you, a (in your self image) controlled person have troubles with your dirty mind, how bad must it be for the youth?
So when it comes to assigning priorities to potential problems, one seems to look to themselves and extrapolate from there.
I saw similar patterns with parents that have troubles with their TV habits and extrapolate that onto the (in their eyes comparable) activity of siting on a computer.
The problem with computers is, that you can’t really tell what your kid does unless you spy on it or have the trust bond to ask them. They could be playing games, socialize, watch porn, read the news, watch videos, learn programming or editing software — who knows.
The generation of obsessive television watchers thinks kids are doomed because of the internet. The generation of wild parties belives the youth is unhinged (despite evidence against it). Etc. Just because it was aproblem for you doesn’t mean the next generation even wants it.
I have cousins that are around the age I threw my first wild parties and they didn’t even go out ror a drink yet, befause it literally doesn’t interest them.
My mom plays the most mind-numbing mobile and Facebook (yep) games, instead of realizing there's a bigger world of much higher-quality content out there. Gen Z seems to have the hindsight about social media to resist some of the effects it's had on millennials. Etc.
Posting IG photos? Posting to your story? they’ll straight up tell me “thats not the move, you don’t want to do that”
Its group chats or bust.
Millennials spent so much time rejecting vertical videos, stories, and all that stuff and are the main ones using the older social networks for that.
This expectation that young people would be more predisposed to technology grew from incorrect notions of their natural learning abilities and the technological adoption curve.
There is a generation of people who were born at precisely the right time such that technology was simple and analog enough for them to understand from a young age, and from that point grew in complexity at a pace that was proportional to their own mental development, allowing them to seamlessly transition into more advanced technologies with clearer intuition about how it works. Whatever the next best thing was, they were certain it was better than whatever came before, because progress was exponential for so long, and they had actually seen everything that came before. This may be the only generation that is so obsessed with technology, because all their life has been nothing but exponential technological advancement, and a belief that technology can do anything.
The new generations coming into this world where everyday technology is the best it has ever been and probably the best it will ever be quickly come to understand that, and have no expectations of better things to come. For that they will look elsewhere, back to the old ways. The vintage, the analog, the fleeting.
- My phone cannot play music through headphones and charge at the same time. Nor can I use any old pair of headphones with it, and most pairs have to spend time charging before I can use them. My phones 5+ years ago did not have these major usability problems.
- I ordered food while in NYC recently using an app. Out of 5 attempted orders, 4 were stolen by the driver and only 1 order arrived in reasonable condition. The other orders took ~3 hours to sort out. Ordering a pizza 5-10 years ago? No way is that gonna get stolen 4/5 times.
- Google Search on Android (voice) has gotten way worse. It used to offer functions like always offering to search the web (it's Google!), or letting me quickly review past audio search results. Now I cannot see any more past results without redoing the search and waiting for the response. I also cannot find any way to perform a web search on ~50% of my queries. Typing on a desktop computer is way better than voice searching on Android, but I used to have a stellar experience voice searching on Android. It's gone. Will it ever come back?
- Many websites are nearly impossible to use now. I barely use the web because there are so many intrusive ads.
Maybe my point is made. In many many cases, the last few years have seen a sharp drop in technology utility for many regular younger. None of this stuff needs to be getting worse, but it is.
Technology cycles and we're at the end of a large one. Consolidation, regulatory capture and gaps between generations cause this IMO.
Maintaining a social life takes work, maintaining one into your 70s even moreso; particularly if certain sacrifices which were seen to be necessary at the time were made to raise children who later leave.
Divorce is more common than 40 years ago (I'm not taking a moral stand here, I'm all for leaving toxic relationships but friends are often lost as collateral damage), and grandchildren less.
Social media and television are to our social lives what fast food is to our need to eat.
I'd speculate that if you normalised for loneliness the screen use by age would become a much flatter line.
Agence France Presse is a bit of an oddity in terms of structure. Legally a corporation, it has no shareholders and is forbidden by its bylaws to receive public subventions. It mostly sell news feeds to other medias.
You may be surprised by the clear design and the absence of ads.
It is managed by an assembly of 18 people, mostly representatives from local medias (who are all biased in different ways) and 3 members sent by the government. Its finances are managed by specialized magistrates.
In my opinion it is a great model organization of private-public collaboration and an example of correctly set incentives for a good neutral news agency.
I know folks who used to believe in helping refugees, standing up for human rights, guaranteeing every citizen the right to vote, crafting policy under guidance of experts, holding politicians and businesses accountable for corruption and fraud, supporting science, etc., but now spout unhinged conspiracy theories about e.g. civil servants and climate scientists, stand up for murderous autocrats, and echo very strange racist ideas about social relations.
It’s very difficult to listen to a steady drumbeat of fear and hate for years and years and not come out with a warped worldview. Especially when a broader community of these old people’s friends are all consuming the same propaganda.
It’s all a heinous mess. Just an endless stream of low-quality trash that addicts people of all stripes.
I understand that many people want to believe their elders are good, rational, intelligent people, and it's that damn media diet. I'm sorry - it's not McDonalds that makes people obese, it's people willing to become obese that continue going to McDonalds.
So comments about how the elderly might be more succeptible to social network addition seem off the mark. They are still using computer/smartphone less than other demographics, not more.
Props to well-designed infrographic at the top, anti-props to the clickbait title which has contradicting implications.
My father on the other hand is old school and never opted into social media.
but, if I am asked "do you spend time in front of a screen" the answer is different because I read on a kindle.
I'm in the age cohort in question btw. I gave up TV about two years ago, around the time I also stopped doing FaceBook.
But the observations of this article aren't that surprising to me. What doesn't require screen time these days?
Mainly exercise, in-person socializing, and reading paper books.
Exercise and in-person socializing seem to be naturally reduced for older people. (Of course I can think of a few people that are exceptions)
And even reading paper books is less of an option for older people with reduced vision. My grandfather lived to a very old age and I believe it was easier for him to watch TV than to read books.
Ironically I feel like almost everything else involves a screen: travelling seems to increase your attachment to your phone, socializing with family is often done through a screen, anything in "media" like making music or video often involves a screen, etc. Planning vacations, doing your taxes, financial planning, etc. are all very screen-centric IMO.
They are, but it isn't counted here (this is "media consumption only", not all screen time) confusingly enough.
In addition to that you're at a row of urinals with a camera out. It's just straight up weird to me.
When I was a kid, my grandma was in a retirement home, and every time I'd go over, she'd have the TV on and blasting at full volume. She wasn't obsessed, there just wasn't much else she could do. She was in bad physical shape, so she couldn't leave her room easily. Her eyes were bad, so she couldn't read or engage in a lot of other activities. Her options were the TV or talking to her kids on the phone, and you can only do the latter for so many hours a week.
Millennials/teens/whatever group of young people you want to compare them to are more physically fit and able to get around, plus they have larger social networks. That enables them to do a much broader range of activities than the elderly, so of course it's likely they'll divide their time among more things than the elderly will.
I'm 63 and even on days when i am not working I'd be hard put to find six hours to sit in front of a television.
I'm not American; but I can't see what difference that should make.
"I Know what you feel man. I have a flu. All diseases suck."
There is huge difference between meaningless and sensational trash news and channel designed by media genius (Roger Ailes) to achieve a specific goal with false narratives.
Want to make the news better gain? Kill ads.
Cable news has never been okay. Maybe you are thinking of national news programs on broadcast TV at some point in the past, or e.g. the PBS News Hour?
It would be conceivably possible to spend 24 hours/day on real hard-hitting video journalism, serious policy analysis, deep interviews with experts, etc., but the format doesn’t really lend itself to that. Instead every show competes for low-information channel surfers.
There are rare cable news slots like Maddow’s show that are more serious than the rest. But those could just as easily be hosted on some other kind of station, and they’re still far from what they might be if given serious resources.
But these are _mostly_ people at home, not in the job market so what should they do instead, volunteer, read? I dunno if I would castigate them for this.
Edit: Also, anecdotally, TV is a quite a novelty for me. I had basic TV ears when I was a kid, but never cable. I was ~31 before I got cable TV (always was affordable but never a desire). I definitely personally see TV as more of a novelty than smartphones.
Edit: Also worth noting that the article is about media consumption but the headline (and subheader) only references "screen time". Could be confusing if comparing to groups outside seniors, who use screens for a lot more than media consumption.