You go, gramps! Older persons are utilizing TikTok to dispel myths about ageing


Through the lockdown, my 65-year-old mom did one thing that truly shocked me. She began occurring to TikTok so she may watch and comply with her favourite “Dancing Dadi” – which implies grandmother in Hindi.

I used to be genuinely shocked to find that my mom – who is totally technophobic – had purchased an iPad, received a high-speed web connection, and found out tips on how to create a TikTok account, all simply to observe uninterrupted Dancing Dadi.

Whereas I respect that few sights are extra entertaining than an Indian granny amusing others together with her depraved dance strikes, there needed to be one thing greater than mere amusement changing my mom to expertise and the youthful points of interest of social media.

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As I began to look at the rationale behind this transformation, I spotted that each my mom and Dancing Dadi herself are attempting to bust the damaging stereotypes and myths about previous age.

Whereas my mom was tearing down the trope of the older one who cannot get to grips with technology or perceive social media, Dancing Dadi was shattering the stereotype that older ladies don’t have the power to bop or specific pleasure via motion – and was utilizing social media to show it.

Current research from the College of Singapore has proven this isn’t as uncommon as you would possibly assume. Many older persons are turning to TikTok – finest often known as a playground for Gen Z – to reframe the expertise of ageing and relax towards age stereotyping.

In my very own work as a behavioral knowledge scientist, I discover how people develop into biased within the first place. We’re all born unbiased however then study our prejudices from all kinds of sources resembling tradition, language, society, friends, values, and so forth. My analysis is concerned with creating refined AI applied sciences to mitigate human biases, prejudices, and stereotypes.

Each my mom and Dancing Dadi compelled me to ponder these ageist stereotypes – why they nonetheless exist and why some persons are attempting so onerous to beat them utilizing one of many world’s hottest social media platforms.

How stereotypes work

Stereotypes are beliefs (or associations) about sure social teams or classes. For example, males are generally related to energy and profession whereas ladies are sometimes related to household and a scarcity of energy. In different phrases, stereotypes are expectations a couple of sure group’s capacity, preferences and character kind, which are sometimes over-generalized and thus inaccurate.

Alongside the identical traces, older individuals (these over 60) are stereotypically thought-about weak, ailing, incapable, boring, and ineffective at expertise and social media.

Analysis has shown that the human thoughts has cognitive limitations resembling bounded rationality, which means, we search ok selections moderately than the absolute best ones. When making selections, we depend on easy cues which are sometimes fashioned by our assumptions or stereotypical associations. That is very true when individuals don’t have the time or assets to find new info.

The query is, are these associations appropriate and may they be relied on throughout decision-making? Many people would possibly deny we expect that method, however how typically when making selections underneath stress, will we really succumb to our cognitive limitations, forming biased opinions? On this method, stereotypes result in biased perceptions then which may then result in discriminatory habits.

Smashing biases

The one method to unshackle the thoughts from our personal unconscious biases is to demolish these stereotypes. Nonetheless, difficult stereotypes, altering society, and mitigating unconscious biases that result in discrimination isn’t straightforward.

However these wishing to dispel damaging stereotypes of older age have already started a social media revolution on Tiktok’s standard video platform. Sensible, humorous, and customarily geared in the direction of children, 41% of TikTok users are underneath 24 – however around 14.5% of customers are over 50.

More and more, because the Singapore research has proven, increasingly older persons are adopting this platform as their social media of selection to supply a glimpse right into a youth-centric world what their lives are like, the views they maintain, and the enjoyable they’ve.

The researchers compiled TikTok’s most-viewed movies of individuals over 60 with a minimum of 100,000 followers, leading to as much as 1,382 posts with greater than 3.5 billion views. An in-depth evaluation then highlighted how older adults are proactively partaking in TikTok to defy the damaging stereotypes and problem socially constructed notions of “previous age”.

These revolutionary content material creators are customers over 60 and creating viral content material for his or her tens of millions of followers. The massive hitters are individuals like Grandma Droniak, who palms out straight-talking recommendation; Grandad Joe, who makes humorous, non-speaking movies about how he sees issues; J-Dog, a nonagenarian who likes to place younger individuals proper; Grandpa Chan, who’s a whizz at keep-fit dance movies; and Babs aka Nonna, who’s now a best-selling cookbook creator via her standard TikTok recipe and way of life movies.

These individuals showcase their knowledge, vibrancy, power, and fierceness, proving that granddads may be granfluencers and grandmothers may be glammas – superb and glamorous.

In utilizing humorous, partaking movies, older persons are taking a stand towards bias and discrimination, and rejecting the concept they’re invisible. After all, there must be a higher effort on quite a lot of fronts to eradicate the stereotyping of older people who goes on in our tradition. This consists of what I do – designing packages that may make us conscious of our personal biases and devising methods that may problem them.

In the meantime, these older TikTok-ers are a part of an encouraging and heartening motion that’s serving to to shift prevailing attitudes. In a world so involved with inclusion, older persons are typically on the finish of the queue, as we noticed in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. This pleasant late-in-life embracing of TikTok serves to remind us the entire worth and humanity of a bit of society that’s so typically ignored and sidelined.The Conversation

Article by Shweta Singh, Assistant Professor, Info Programs and Administration, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick

This text is republished from The Conversation underneath a Inventive Commons license. Learn the original article.

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