Social media use spiked among adults ages 50 to 64 in the last year.
A recent study from the Pew Research Center showed that the number of daily social media users increased from 20 to 32 percent among the baby boomer generation last year. This is a 60-percent increase in the age bracket that makes up the parents and grandparents of college aged students.
Quint Randle, a communications professor, said many adults still think of Myspace when they think of social media, but that this stigma is crumbling away with the improvement of social media quality and security.
“Facebook is more about transparency,” he said. “You can’t be a fake person there and you can see what your kids and grandkids are doing.”
The younger generation is adjusting as it realizes parents and family members are joining the social media world.
“I still use Facebook the same way as I always have, but my parents usually comment when I say that I’ve accomplished something.” Andrew Wiggins said, a senior in the English program. “A peer might like my status, but my Dad would say something about it.”
Students agree that their parents tend to use Facebook and other social media to keep an eye on their children.
“My mom admitted to me that one of the reasons she got a Facebook account was because all of her kids were on Facebook and she wanted to keep in touch with us, as well as make sure we were posting appropriate things,” Anna Silver said, a theater education major from Washington.
“Everyone was out of the house and so my mom just thought it would be a good thing for her to be on Facebook so she could keep track of us,” Silver said.
A level of discomfort does exist among the younger generation with the watchful eye of parents turning towards the social media realm. Students do, however, seem to be receiving the older generation with some warmth.
“It’s kind of cool to have an informal connection to my parents through Facebook, because it does put us on a little bit of the same level,” said Wiggins.
Randle explained that these adults are finding social media to be both interesting and valuable.
“It’s more than just status updates and talking about yourself,” Randle said. “It’s sharing information with close friends and family about your life.”