These days it's virtually possible to live entirely online if you want to. But the real world tends to intrude eventually.
New research shows that 77% of people over 65 now have their own computers and use the internet with gusto. They no longer rely on their grandchildren to sort out problems but deal with them confidently themselves. It makes them feel young, they say. And they particularly like social networking because it helps them keep in touch. Well, that’s what they say. But the internet can also be seen as a tool for withdrawing from the real world into a world of one’s own invention. It obviates the need for any direct human contact, which can be stressful, and replaces it with a controllable system of social communication that keeps other people at an unthreatening distance. It can offer the illusion of a social life without ever having to see or talk to anyone else. This might be tempting to old people who are shy or deaf or don’t like going out; but it can be a trigger for compulsive behaviour, whatever their age.
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