Is your grandma on Twitter? It might be worth spending a few minutes going over hashtags and @mentions with her, since it’s likely to make her happier – at least according to the latest research.
The University of Alabama surveyed 8,000 men and women in the over-50 age group about their web surfing habits. The participants were first asked several questions about how they use the internet and social networks more specifically, and then were tested for mental illness and depression.
Previous research that suggested that depression increased with age was upheld. Depression is at its lowest around 45 and increases as people age, affecting about 13 percent of the population by the age of 85. But the new findings show that using the internet can help combat this.
Specifically, the study found that those 50+ participants who used Twitter and Facebook were one third less likely to develop symptoms of depression than those who don’t use social media.
A recent Pew survey of Americans’ social media use found that 13% of US adults above the age of 50 are on Twitter, a number that is growing steadily. And, based on other research from Pew, over half (53 percent) of Americans 65+ use the internet regularly.