Silver surfers socialising online


Although there is an association with anonymity and loneliness from extensive internet use, recently, Ministers are coming under pressure to get lonely senior citizens the skills they need to interact with other people online.

We are all living longer and the number of senior citizens grows year on year.  So unfortunately does the increasing condition of loneliness.

Silver surfers

The need to enable and encourage senior citizens, commonly known as ‘silver surfers’, comes after figures last year revealed that over 10% of the senior population described themselves as either always or often lonely.  Statistics show that loneliness can become such an issue that one in ten have visited their GP unnecessarily, just because they fancy a chat.  Also, loneliness increases the risk of early care home admissions and hospital influx.

Connecting senior citizens to their friends and family is really important, so too is the need to reduce costs of paper and telephone transactions to businesses supplying this growing market.  Many services are now ‘digital by default’ and potentially alienate the non-tech enabled.

Technology – social or anti-social effects?

Some people will argue that the proliferation of computers, smart phones, tablets, consoles etc. have really only made us more detached from the world surrounding us.  There are links between people who are very active on social networking sites such as Facebook and depression and loneliness.  It appears that social networking and the use of Skype and suchlike is no real substitute for physical company, which is entirely obvious.

Opposition to the argument is that social networking online simply adds another dimension, another way to be social, not by any means a complete substitute.  How can the ability to contact family members and friends from all over the world possibly be seen as negative?  Do you bit to help – show your grandparents and parents how to Skype, email, or use facebook.  You’ll be closer to them as a result.

Useful references

Help silver surfers by reading the following advice and research papers:

end loneliness logo

end loneliness logo