Let’s see what my grandson just post on YouTube and Instagram.

Advantages of using YouTube and Instagram in elderly

We have all seen our grandpa or grandma holding a DVD or radio player while lying on the sofa, listening to the news.  I am a big fan who enjoys using vintage video players such as DVDs or the photograph album. However, because the technology is developing extremely fast. DVDs have many limitations that are unavoidable, for example resources are limited to within a local community, entire episodes are expensive, and space is needed for storage. In regards to the photo album, photo frame is too expensive and it is difficult to choose a limited number of photos to print. YouTube and Instagram that can easily solve these problems by downloading it to your smart phone or electronic devices and allowing the older generation to have more things in common with the younger generation. In addition, the two researches done by Hutto and Yuan respectively, illustrated below, are both indicated that social media can bring benefits for seniors.

YouTube is an American video-sharing website which also has an application format on the mobile phone. Most of the videos on the site are free beside some movies. People usually post anything they like, such as vlogs, tutorial, TV show clips, music, educational video, records, critique films, etc.  “The site allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to favorites, report and comment on videos, and subscribe to other users” (“YouTube”, 2017). Instagram is an application where people share photos or short clips of video about their life. This site allows people to choose whether the snippets are publicly shared or only for friends. Instagram is considered a social media mobile application which has the users from all over the world. When people post a picture or video, they can use hashtags to link it to a specific topic to share their unique creativity with more visibility.

These two products both require registration to have a legal and free account. The exist users are from all over the world. The two apps will recommend new things that individuals might be interested in based on cookies and need internet to run. Furthermore, both products are available for download on mobile phone devices. The difference between these two products are: YouTube can only share videos while Instagram cannot share clips no more than one minute.

When considering why I would introduce these two forms of social medias to older generation, there are some health conditions that the elderly tend to experience with age which could easily be reduced by with these two products. Due to the age process, people experience physiological changes throughout the years. In the senior group, there is a tendency that many of them will develop some level of chronic diseases, physical disorders, or will experience events like losing friends and partners. Depression is one mental disorder that older people should not ignore. It can be caused by either physical or mental (brain shrinkage) changes. Depressed seniors tend to undergo more long term pressure. Some of the symptoms associated with depression can be: insomnia, changes in appetite, hopelessness, difficulty engaging in activities, and other symptoms. Since technology could help older generations reduce the chance of developing many health diseases and bring satisfaction (Hutto et. al, 2015).

In a study (Hutto et. al, 2015), there were 268 participants aged 50 and older from a community in Georgia Tech Home-lab Institution. The goal of the study was to correlate the aging population with aspects of community and social patterns, including family and social network characteristics.  The study was conducted in a web based 92-questions survey format with a logical skip format based on the answers that were chosen. The results show several consequences, one of which of them is that social media users have a significant report about the following: confidence with technology, social role satisfaction, and a more positive attitude toward their everyday lives. People who did not use social media lacked interest, access, security and identity concern. As a result, this study indicates that social media could allow for older people to feel more connected with their families, society, and younger generations. this is especially important for depressed elderly because social media can remove bad feeling and bring fuflill feeling to the elderly.

Another research conducted by Shupei Yuan et. al (2015), examined how the elderly’s way of communication with technology impacts their preferences. The research was done in an interview format where 17 semi-structured American participants whose ages were from 66 to 96 years old. The results of the study indicate that although face-to-face communication is the most preferred method, internet-based communication allow them to experience positive emotions by being close to their families. This study also indicates that older people who do not use social media agree that social media could be beneficial; however, they do not have friends and have a lack of knowledge about how to operate the internet. Generally, all interviewees reported overall positive views about advancements in technology, such as convenience, close to friend and families, satisfaction, connected, and comfort. Even though the study showed that older people prefer in-person communication rather than mediated communication, they appreciate that technology brings many good features to their life which they could take advantage of it.

YouTube and Instagram are two great applications that could benefit older people. First, the majority of the YouTube videos are about teaching a skill or giving tips regarding certain topics. As older people start watching a YouTube video, they have the potential to learn and explore new things and skills. Instagram offers the same benefits too. Since both apps show some related topics and allow people to leave comments or likes in the comment sections older people could explore through enriching their time, ideas, and emotions. This feature could also allow people to know new people, which could potentially increase their social network circles. This will allow the elderly to feel more positively and more active, which helps to reduce health disease (such as cognitive decline and depression) and increase emotional expression. Next, users are allowed to share their own videos; as a result, more people will start to pay attention to the elderly. They could start chatting with more people and engaging in different experience, which helps their social interactions. Older generations could also use these two applications as a tool to do some physical activities, such as abdominal exercise, yoga, etc. Some older people might afraid of taking an exercise class with younger generation. This will help them overcome the fear caused by aging. It is also benefits for some disable elderly because they could travel the world by searching the places they would like to go in the applications. There is one drawback that should be keep in mind is that since these two applications are free people can express their own perspectives, which may allow for stereotypes, cynics, cultural differences, or simply different opinions to occur. Furthermore, since these two applications will recommend similar things based on previous searches, it might confuse the elderly, especially the ones who are not familiar with the application. Thus, the elderly should not hesitate to ask others for help.

Individuals should encourage the older generation to start taking advantage of the internet.  They would have more social interactions, receive health benefits, reduce chronic illness, and prolong and enrich their life. As two studies indicated, social media could help older people feel more connected. Older people could use it to discover things outside of their social group or country border. In that way, they could have more ways to express their emotions and decrease the chance of getting depression. They could be sharper in both the mind and the spirit.








YouTube. (2017, April 21). Wikipedia.


Hutto, C., Bell, C., Farmer, S., Fausset, C., Harley, L., Nguyen, J., & Fain, B. (2015, January 01).

Social media gerontology: Understanding social media usage among older adults. IOS Press

          Content Library

Yuan, S., Hussain, S. A., Hales, K. D., & Cotten, S. R. (2015, October 02). What do they like?

Communication preferences and patterns. Taylor and Francis Online.





Created by QH.


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