My Take

Even online, elderly are losing out

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 5:06am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 5:06am

Another day and another year ends. Except for a change of the calendar on the table, not a lot will change immediately. But you never know.

People lined up in New York last weekend on Good Riddance Day to get rid of unlucky things in their life and many more around the world will be resolving to change the course of their lives. New Year's resolutions are notoriously fragile and seldom last more than a few weeks. It is even difficult sometimes to recall what last year's resolutions were.

But Marguerite Joseph from Michigan in the US did achieve her ambition this year and was able to get her age corrected on her Facebook page. Not that she wanted to lie about it, but some glitch on the site kept altering her real birth year of 1908 to 1928. The blind and deaf centenarian, who is active on Facebook with the help of her family, had stayed 85 till then - online, anyway.

Facebook, which was a cool place to hang out for teens, is apparently now riddled with mums and grannies and old people of all sorts. A recent survey in Britain found teenagers were ditching the site in droves. One of the main reasons they cited? Getting messages from mums and dads to be friends on Facebook, according to a Pew Research Centre survey. They would rather be on parent-free platforms like Twitter and Snapchat, it found.

Some teens who kept their Facebook page told the survey it was mainly keep in touch with older relatives. One teen said she keeps two Facebook accounts, one for the family and one for her friends. Some of the young people saw Facebook as a social burden.

Societies like Hong Kong are struggling to provide enough old- age facilities for their greying populations. But it looks like even in cyberspace, older people are getting jostled out.

Youngsters feeling miffed about their parents is nothing new. It is a generational thing. But at times some youngsters go over the top. Like 10-year-old Dan Davis of Massachusetts in the US. He called the police to complain about his mum. She was forcing him to go to bed by 8pm, he told the police.

Luckily the officer who took the call saw where the problem lay. No charges were laid but he was grounded for two weeks as punishment.