Social media isn’t just a young person’s game anymore. New research indicates that the average American aged 65 and up clocks nearly 300 hours annually scrolling through social feeds.
But don’t let that number fool you. When you break it down daily, older adults are actually pretty good at minimizing screen time– averaging just 47 minutes per day, according to a recent survey of 2,000 senior social media users commissioned by ClearMatch Medicare and conducted by OnePoll.
As for where they’re spending the most time online, Facebook takes the cake, with 75% of seniors favoring it. YouTube and Instagram trail behind, capturing 28% and 10% of this demographic’s attention, respectively.
About 54% of survey participants use social media as a way to pass the time, while a larger 61% use it to reconnect with friends. Staying in contact with other family members and loved ones is another significant reason, cited by 58% of those surveyed. Interestingly, almost two-fifths of respondents (39%) have even struck up new friendships through their social media interactions.
Social media also serves other practical functions for this demographic. A solid 63% of respondents claim they’ve gleaned useful life insights from their feeds. Additionally, 35% regard social platforms as a dependable resource for news updates, while 32% use the platforms as an information-seeking tool.
According to the survey, health topics grab the most attention from seniors, with 46% showing interest. Food-related content is a close second at 43%, followed by entertainment at 36% and political matters at 33%.
Fortunately, 60% of those surveyed acknowledge that social media can only be trusted as an information source occasionally. On the flip side, close to one-fifth believe it’s mostly reliable (19%), while a similar proportion, 20%, confess they’re not entirely sure how to use these platforms safely.
In terms of news credibility, the average senior thinks that just about 43% of the news they encounter on social media is factual. A significant 67% feel that they’re stereotypically seen as easy targets for misinformation, and 36% of them concur with that sentiment.
“There has been a growing intricacy in scams, making them harder to detect in the last decade,” said Ben Pajak, CEO of ClearMatch Medicare.