Home | News | Ageism and selfies: why are older people reluctant to take and share selfies online?

Ageism and selfies: why are older people reluctant to take and share selfies online?

Over half of Older Australians are reluctant to share photos online due to a fear of being ridiculed, according to new research.

Earlier this month, researchers from Swinburne University ran a day-long pilot study, interviewing thirty people aged over 65 on their levels of digital participation.

“When we started, we thought like everyone else that people would talk about a lack of technical skills being the thing that is stopping them from sharing selfies,” said head researcher Dr Diana Bossio.

“We found as we went through the workshop and talked to older people more, that it was actually more social and cultural factors.”

According to Dr Bossio, most participants were hesitant to take and share photographs of themselves online.

When queried as to why, one woman remarked that it was because “no one wants to see grandma on social media”.

“They didn’t want to portray themselves as being older,” said Dr Bossio.

“I think it’s a reflection of the kind of ageism in our social structures that they see reflected in our online spaces.”

Whether it be the over $200 billion industry devoted to anti-ageing products or a growing digital divide, negative attitudes towards older people online is a growing issue.

As the most digitally excluded group, Australians over 65 are now at an increased risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness.

Digital platforms should facilitate a shift in social norms and behaviors to better accommodate the needs of older people online, said Dr Bossio. 

“So much of our lives rely on online spaces and if those spaces aren’t inclusive of older people, then they are really locked out of a big part of our social life.”

“It’s really about making those tools aligned with older people’s interests and their values.”

This pilot study was undertaken as part of Telstra's 60+ Online Project. 

Do you have an idea for a story?
Email [email protected]

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the top stories in our weekly newsletter Sign up now

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *