Social Me(al)dia, Changes in the Social Media Age Gap
As an eighteen year old, I have been an avid Social Media user for over five years now. I started on instagram when I was still in middle school, and I have branched out to facebook, twitter, and snapchat over the years. When I began using these applications, I only had an ipod which meant that I could only use them when I had the luxury of being exposed to wifi. This implied that everywhere I went, even at 13 years old, I would go and check to see if this place had wireless internet. I would always beg my mom to get me an Iphone like all my friends had, however she always told me that it would take over my life and I needed to wait until I became slightly more responsible.
Finally! My mom gave in and bought me an iphone when I started tenth grade, and man, she was right about it taking over my life. I soon began to realize whether I was bored or busy, tired or awake, or hungry, or full, usually the first thing I did was look at one of my social media sites.
Even though I was doing this, I didn’t exactly see anything alarming about the issue because being on social media all the time was normal to me.
On the other hand, my mom did find something wrong with this. She constantly would tell me to get off my phone and would even comment if all my friends were hanging out although rarely talking because we were too preoccupied with what everyone else was doing. The biggest example I realised was when I would look around the dinner table. First, was when I was with my family, and the second was with my friends. When I was a junior in high school there was not a chance that either of my parents would be searching through their iphones during a meal because one, they didn’t have iphones, and two, they didn’t have any sort of social media to take up their time. This was not the same when I was with my friends, all of us would be on our phones and even if we were engaged in our live conversations, a second of boredom would turn to glancing at someone’s snap story or liking an instagram picture.
However, the tables began to turn my senior year when my mom, at 51 years old bought herself an iphone. This seems like a simple purchase, although what came along with it was her creating a facebook, instagram, snapchat, and twitter. In my opinion, my mom’s obsession with her phone became much more obvious than mine had ever been.
Even though she’s not one of the “social media wise” outgoing parents who will subtweet their child’s coach or post selfies on instagram. She was still one who began to keep up on the drama/news in a way that less than two years ago was foreign and she believed to be seemingly disrespectful. Now, when I look around the dinner table, even when it’s just when I’m home for a day or two, everyone in my family is on their phones looking at social media during some point.
This just goes to show that the age gap that social media had created between children and their parents is in fact beginning to change, and in one way or another could essentially be bringing individuals together, even if it’s indirectly. This situation is also not just an example through my family, but it has become a true statistic. The fact is that the largest growing age group of facebook users is those individuals over 55.
Who would have thought the day would come when your parents or even grandparents are on social media. Even more surprisingly, they are not just on it but, they are friends with your friends and begin to become vocal members through the internet. The age gap is slowly but surely reducing, and if you don’t believe me…
next time you are with groups of adults, see if your meal is more than just a social meal, but a social media meal. And better yet, a Social Mealdia.