Last year consumer reports revealed there are more than 20 million minors on Facebook. Of those minors, 7.5 million of them are under the age of 13. There have been numerous reports of these children either being harassed, threatened or participating in some form of cyberbullying. Despite the internet increasing negative actions in adolescents, for those over 50, the internet and social media may decrease loneliness and social isolation.
A study conducted by Shelia Cotton a sociologist at the University of Alabama, revealed that Internet and social media users over the age of 50 may reduce their chances of suffering from depression. The analysis, which comprised of 8,000 men and women over the age of 50, demonstrated those who are Internet and social media users lowered their chances of depression by one-third compared to those who do not participate in social media. The study conducted a survey distinguishing those who use the internet and then evaluating participants for mental health issues.
According to the research conducted by the Pew Research Center, a U.S. think-tank, the use of social media and the internet increased to 33 percent from just 6 percent in three years. Of Internet users over the age of 65, 6 percent use Twitter. Through research it was discovered the internet assists adults with a number of things, including decreasing social isolation. Those who may have impaired mobility are able to keep in contact with friends and family through the internet and expand their social circles.
A similar study, conducted at the University of California, demonstrated the effects of Internet use on nerve-cell activity. Researchers uncovered that in just one week of using the internet brain changes occurred. The Internet stimulates nerve-cell activity and may also assist in increasing brain function in older adults.
Results also showed that the main reason other adults are not participating in social media websites or surfing the web is due to lack of knowledge of the Internet and/or access to the Internet.
The study will be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.