Sir John Beddington spoke about the new report and highlighted the possible problems that could be facing the UK and many other countries potentially if older members of the community do not engage in social media.
He spoke about the next generation of adults who will have grown up only knowing about social media with this generation using different forms of social media to effectively define not only their social groups but also their personalities.
Sir John Beddington told the BBC radio 4 Today programme: “Hyper-connectivity, the spread of social media and the increase in online personal information are key factors which will influence identity in the next decade.
“The generation born, who will have grown up with social networking and with a digital age, is starting to turn into adulthood and at the same time you have an older and more elderly population, which arguably could become partly disfranchised.”
Increasingly people, especially younger people, are using social media to live a large part of their life, using it to communicate views, make plans and to share experiences but those who are not part of the social media revolution are looking at being left out of wider society if they do not sign up themselves.
The UK has an aging population and there is an increasing need for older people to continue in the work place for longer than ever. to be able to hold down jobs in the modern workplace many now require some understanding of social media and networking and if the elderly are not informed and educated as to how to become engaged then they will fail to pick up much needed jobs in the future.
A deeper problem has also been identified in the report and that is that because the next generation of adults will have an enormously high level of uptake on social media, anyone who is not part of this could be viewed as “unusual or even suspicious”.
The report has highlighted the pressing need to work with older members of the population to enable them to have a firm understanding not only of the importance of social media in general but also to them individually in the future.
It appears that while progress can only be seen as a good thing when it comes to social media, there may be casualties along the way if governments don’t work to include the elderly.