Dear Donna:

I am a retiree living alone since my husband passed two years ago. Because I don’t drive much in the winter, I’m sticking close to home. The coronavirus is another reason.

My grandson helped me sign up for Facebook last spring and I’ve been using it a lot every day. I’ve noticed my anxiety has increased over the last eight or nine months. I’m sure the COVID-19 pandemic is a big reason for it, but my daughter also wants me to spend less time online. She thinks it is bad for my health.

While I probably could use it less, I am wondering if social media is good for me. For seniors like me, there are a lot of positives.



The Pros and Cons of Social Media

Dear Renee:

That’s an interesting question! I would say you and your daughter are both right. Social media can be an easy way for isolated older adults to feel connected to friends and family while waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to subside.

First, the benefits of being active on Facebook and other social channels often include:

  • Engaging with loved ones near and far
  • Exploring virtual events like watercolor painting workshops and knitting classes
  • Reconnecting with friends you’ve lost touch with over the years

While social media has many advantages, there are definitely downsides. In recent years, the dark side of social media has become more obvious and may include:

  • Spreading misinformation on essential topics, such as coronavirus prevention and vaccine safety
  • Instigating family feuds about politics
  • Contributing to a sedentary lifestyle, which researchers say can be as dangerous as smoking

Social Media-Related Stress

If you are struggling to decide which category your social media habits fall into—healthy or stressful—ask yourself these questions:

  • How much time are you spending on Facebook each day?

Are you taking breaks to get up and move? Sitting too much can result in high blood pressure, weight gain, depression, diabetes, and more.

  • Are you fighting with loved ones you would never disagree with in person?

Have any of your important relationships been damaged by issues that started on social media? People often feel freer to express their opinions on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve seen your relationships suffer, you might need to cut back on your social media engagement.

  • How do you feel after you log off for the day?

Social media can be a source of anxiety and stress. Facebook is often considered one of the worst platforms for both. Pay attention to how you feel before you log in to your account and again when you log off. Is there a positive or negative change? Use that as your guide in deciding if you need to cut back or even give up social media altogether.

I hope these suggestions help you make an informed choice, Renee!

Kind regards,


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