The Role of Social Media in Reducing Social Isolation among Elderly People in Dhaka

The Role of Social Media in Reducing Social Isolation among Elderly People in Dhaka

by Romana Islam

Abstract

Social media as a new media has developed gradually. At present, it acts not only as a tool of communication media but also became a lifestyle support for the youth and adults. Social media have removed the geographical boundaries and made the social world virtually borderless, like Marshal McLuhan’s prediction about the global village. Globally, social media is a popular phenomenon and in Bangladesh it is also very popular to youth. Recently, elderly people started to use laptop, smart phone and tablet and are trying to connect with social media. Usually from the age of 50, people are almost done the responsibilities of family and work. Therefore they lose their connection from social belongings and became socially isolated. Social media can help to decrease the feelings of social isolation to some extent. However what is the actual scenario of elderly people’s connection with social media? The aim of the study was to explore the role of social media in reducing social isolation among the elderly people. Therefore, the study was exploratory, qualitative and descriptive in design. It used digital divide theory to construct study framework. To
collect primary data, 20 in-depth interviews has been conducted with elderly people in Dhaka. Snowball and purposive sampling were used to find out the interviewees. Besides, to collect secondary data, I reviewed and analyzed books, articles, journal, newspaper articles, reports etc. This thesis concluded with a discussion on the role of
social media to reduce social isolation of elder citizen of Dhaka city. In addition, it explored whether the elderly people are digitally excluded or digitally included.

Keywords: social media, social isolation, elderly people, Dhaka City

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