Intergenerational communication: the role of social media in generational perceptions and age stereotypes in Thailand

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Nuchada Dumrongsiri

Abstract

The world society is aging, with an increasing older population. In 2050, aged countries, those with more than 20% of population 60 years or over, are expected to represent 44% of the world’s population (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, 2015). Thailand is officially becoming an aged society in 2021 (Thairath, 2018). Evidently, communicating with older adults is inevitable. Then, it is to be questioned how people communicate across generations better. Social media allow people to be connected more conveniently. Possibly, this can bring people of different ages and generations closer and promote interdependence. This study investigated the influence of social media on intergenerational communication. Two purposes were (1) to study whether the use of social media influenced age stereotypes perceived by different generations and (2) to analyze generation perceptions resulting from intergenerational communication via social media. In Phase1 (N = 531), using LINE and Facebook made people satisfied with communication across all generations, but influenced age stereotypes towards the middle-aged group only. In Phase 2 (N = 326), interactions via social media significantly predicted how younger and older generations perceived each other – viewing each other positively in terms of abilities and personalities, but negatively in media behaviors. However, those negative perceptions decreased when the use of social media across generations was increased. Social media may serve as a means of intervention to trigger changes in age stereotypes and generational perceptions.

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References

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