Seeing your grandparents on Facebook might make you sigh, but it might be good for them

social media moderation
Panithan Fakseemuang/123RF
Conventional wisdom would have you believe that seniors are bewildered, scared, and generally hold negative attitudes toward technology. If a study out of Michigan State University is any indication, however, conventional wisdom is wildly incorrect.

The study, published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking and conducted by assistant professor of psychology William Chopik, surveyed 591 retired participants with an average age of 68. Participants used social technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, online chatting or instant messaging, email, and smartphones.

According to the data, 77 percent of participants said they either thought that technology is not difficult at all or not very difficult to use. Furthermore, just over 95 percent said they were either very or somewhat satisfied with technology.

Other data points include 72 percent saying they were not opposed to learning new technology, just over 60 percent saying technology is a necessity, and around 75 percent saying technology is easily available.

Interestingly, the study drew a link between social technology use and physical and psychological health, with social technology use a solid predictor for lower levels of loneliness. In turn, lower levels of loneliness predicted better physical and mental health, hence the link.

More specifically, participants who used social technology generally had more satisfaction with life, fewer depressive symptoms, and fewer chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

“As we know, close relationships with other people are a large determinant of physical health and well-being, and social technology has the potential to cultivate successful relationships among older adults,” said Chopik.

There are a few things to keep in mind about the study, the first being that it might benefit from a larger participant pool. A few hundred people seems like a lot, but it’s not the biggest sample size. Furthermore, correlation does not equal causation, so the study cannot go as far as concluding that social technology use definitely leads to better physical and mental health.

Finally, at the time of this writing, it is unknown whether other outside variables, such as quality of relationships with others, were controlled for. Digital Trends reached out to Michigan State for clarification regarding the aforementioned points and will update accordingly.

Movies & TV

The Breaking Bad sequel might air on Netflix before it arrives on AMC

A Breaking Bad sequel starring Jesse Pinkman (and, possibly, Walter White) is on the way from series creator Vince Gilligan, and you might get your first look at it on Netflix, not traditional cable.
Smart Home

Language barrier? Psh. Here's how to make your Google Home an ace translator

You can now use interpreter mode on your Google Home devices. This means, you can use your Google Home device to translate conversations in real-time. Here's how to use interpreter mode.
Mobile

Google might release a smartwatch and multiple Pixel phones in 2019

Google seems to have a lot planned for 2019. According to a report, Google is planning on releasing multiple new Pixel phones, a smartwatch, a new Google Home, and a Nest Security camera this year.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Social Media

Twitter boss again teases the idea of a button to edits tweets

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has suggested the company is still looking at options for allowing people to edit tweets. Ideas include a function that gives you up to 30 seconds to recall a tweet before it goes live on the service.
Social Media

‘Instagram egg’ embarks on a new adventure as man behind it is unmasked

The Instagram egg made global headlines recently after it became the most-liked post on the photo-sharing app. The person behind the account has now been revealed, as has his reason for choosing an egg for the stunt.
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.
Photography

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.