How did the ancients provide for the aged? In his late years, Wang Wei, a poet of the prosperous Tang Dynasty, wrote a poem "the wind blows on the pine and the moon shines on the piano", listening to the pine and playing the piano, a school of leisure; Li Qingzhao, a poet of the Song Dynasty, wrote in his twilight years that "it is good to have a good place to read poems and books on the pillow, and the scenery in front of the door is good when the rain comes." reading and appreciating the rain is also leisure. Today, with the rapid popularization of mobile Internet and smart devices, mobile phones play an increasingly important role in the lives of the elderly. You can "listen to pine trees, play the piano, read books and enjoy the rain" through a screen.
However, after the elderly have crossed the "digital divide", the hidden worry of falling into "digital addiction" also follows. The most typical is the various problems caused by excessive use of mobile phones. What are the health risks of "digital addiction"? How to help the elderly get online healthily?
"Retire" on your mobile phone
"Grandma Liu" (online name), who lives in Hangzhou, is nearly 80 years old. From social chat to online shopping, her proficiency in operating smart phones is no less than that of young people. She spends more than 8 hours a day playing on her mobile phone and mocks herself for "retiring" on her mobile phone.
"Mobile phones bring happiness and self-confidence. By watching the videos of many tourism bloggers, they make up for the regret that they are too old to travel." "Grandma Liu" said happily.
In addition to being happy, "grandma Liu" also mentioned that when the children go to work, they are left alone at home. It is inevitable that they will be lonely. "In the city, there are few contacts between neighbors. Relatives and friends are all on wechat. They can only contact each other through mobile phones."
The daughter of "grandma Liu" is a little helpless about her mother's addiction to mobile phones recently. "My mother often brushes short videos on the bed in the morning. We haven't got up yet when we go to work." She said that sometimes when she urged her mother to get up, the old man was not happy and said not to restrict her freedom.
According to the 49th statistical report on China's Internet Development released by China Internet Network Information Center, by December 2021, the number of Internet users aged 60 and over in China had reached 119million, and the Internet penetration rate of this group was 43.2%, less than half. At the same time, the 2020 internet life report for the elderly released by the media shows that more than 100000 elderly people are online for more than 10 hours a day, presenting an extremely lonely life state, and living on the mobile network almost all the time.
It can be seen that the "digital divide" and "digital addiction" of the elderly coexist, and the absolute number of the latter is surprising.
The Institute of Gerontology of Renmin University of China carried out a survey on the use of short videos by the middle-aged and the elderly in December 2021, and 187 middle-aged and the elderly were selected from 24 provinces.
"The results show that about 11% of the elderly have excessive use of short video, and the proportion of their normal life affected by long-time use of short video has increased significantly." Dupeng, vice president of Renmin University of China and director of the Institute of Gerontology of Renmin University of China, introduced that about 16% of the elderly often use their rest time to watch short videos (such as staying up late), while about 15% of the elderly said that they often forget their time because of watching short videos, which seriously affects their daily life arrangements.
To explore the causes of "digital addiction" of the elderly, many experts tried to explain it from the perspective of individual, family and society in combination with the characteristics of the elderly group.
"Scientific research shows that addictive behavior is related to the reward mechanism of the brain." Qu Shan, deputy chief physician of the medical psychology department of the people's Hospital of Peking University, said that the large amount of instant pleasure feedback generated by the brain to the online world will continue to bring users back to the online world, and even make some users indulge in behavior.
"The lack of family support is also an important reason for Internet addiction." Zuomeiyun, a researcher at the National Development Institute of Renmin University of China and director of the Institute of intelligent elderly care, believes that lack of companionship, loneliness and the desire to integrate into the lives of their children are the original intention of many elderly people to "touch the Internet", but the lack of guidance and care from family members has led some elderly people to become addicted to the Internet until they can't extricate themselves.
"Some apps use big data algorithms and other technical means to continue to do what they like, pushing similar content to the elderly and 'sticking' them." Zhang Li, an assistant researcher at the China population and Development Research Center, said that the algorithm makes some elderly people trapped in the "information cocoon" unable to extricate themselves.
Health risks of "digital addiction"
"My mother often has cervical pain, shoulder numbness, stiff neck, blurred vision and dry eyes this year. According to the doctor, these are caused by playing with mobile phones for a long time." Grandma Liu's daughter was worried.
Tong Gang, deputy chief physician of orthopaedics department of Beijing Tongren Hospital Affiliated to Capital Medical University, had the most direct observation on the potential health hazards of "digital addiction".
"There is a 93 year old man who likes to surf the Internet at home, watching news, funds and stocks. I have performed femur surgery on him before." Tong Gang said. "That time, when the old man was surfing the Internet, he kept a posture for too long, and unconsciously his legs became numb. Just when his family asked for dinner, he fell down and fractured his femur."
"Sedentary patients are prone to cervical and lumbar degeneration, lower limb blood stasis, knee joint local synovitis and other symptoms." Tong Gang added that from the perspective of Orthopaedics, the time for the elderly to surf the Internet should be controlled at 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon respectively. No matter how long it takes, it is not conducive to health.
Besides the orthopaedic diseases brought about by "digital addiction", ophthalmic diseases are also the "hardest hit areas".
If the eyes touch the electronic screen for a long time, they are prone to visual fatigue and dry eye. In the long run, their eyesight will also decline. If you look at the phone in an environment with poor lighting, the difference between the background light and the screen light will also cause eye damage.
Science has shown that long-term exposure to a large amount of blue light, especially looking at mobile phones in the dark, can cause damage to the visual cells in the macular region of the retina, and even cause macular lesions. Fundus macular disease, also known as "eye cancer", once irreversible, will eventually lead to blindness.
"At present, the elderly in China have become a high incidence group of fundus macular diseases, which is significantly related to the increasing proportion of the elderly addicted to the Internet year by year." Hugengdan, Professor of the Department of psychology and doctoral supervisor of Tongji University, said.
In addition to the physical level, the mental health risks caused by the "digital addiction" of the elderly should not be underestimated.
The Internet Addiction of the elderly is more like a kind of compensation behavior, which compensates for the loss and emptiness caused by the change of social roles, the lack of effective companionship of their children after independence, and the death anxiety, depression, sadness and pain caused by aging and disease. However, this kind of compensation can not equally replace the full old life and the warmth of family affection. If we rely too much on the Internet, it will not only not alleviate the negative emotions of the elderly, but also bring them some new psychological problems.
"For example, careless operation of real life, laziness and decadence, and poor lifestyle will lead to a stronger sense of guilt, unconsciousness and loneliness, which are manifested in difficulties in social adaptation, decline in social function, lack of interpersonal support, and negative emotions such as indifference, paranoia, disgust and depression." Hugengdan said that many studies have confirmed that there is a significant positive correlation between mobile phone addiction and depression.
"The elderly indulge in the online world and are isolated from the real society, which will lead to the decline of social ability and self loss, and it is very easy to merge with more serious mental diseases." Chenbangding, director of the Department of psychological intervention and preparation of Changde rehabilitation hospital, Hunan Province, believes that.
Cure the Internet Addiction of the elderly, and prescribe the prescription to the whole society
"At present, the elderly are really lonely. The community lacks an environment for the elderly to have leisure and entertainment, and mother has to be accompanied by mobile phones. So, how can she return to a healthy life?" The question in the heart of the daughter of "grandma Liu" pierced the difficulty of the problem of "digital addiction" of the elderly.
The reporter's investigation found that there are many people who are aware of the problems and few who put them into practice.
Chenbangding observed during the reception that many parents came to the hospital for advice on how to help adolescent children get rid of Internet addiction, but few adult children came to the hospital for advice on how to help elderly parents get rid of "digital addiction". "We hope that our children will help their parents cope with internet addiction scientifically, help the elderly get rid of Internet addiction and live a more quality life for the elderly."
"Ignorance is the killer of health, and unpreparedness is the hidden danger of life." Hu Gengdan said that popular science education on how to scientifically surf the Internet for the elderly should be actively carried out to help them clarify the "double-edged sword effect" of the Internet, so as to arouse their awareness of health crisis, develop a reasonable habit of surfing the Internet, improve their health literacy and self-reliance in preventing Internet addiction.
Hu Gengdan believes that the elderly should correctly cope with their own role changes and relieve various negative emotions. Objectively speaking, it is inevitable for the elderly to return to their families from the workplace and leave their children alone. This is a normal maladjustment caused by retirement. There is no need to feel ashamed to face, suppress or deny these feelings.
"There are two levels to deal with the Internet Addiction of the elderly from the perspective of active aging." Dupeng said that at the level of practical intervention, we should avoid the traditional problem perspective and provide equipment, technology and environmental protection for the healthy use of the Internet by the elderly from the perspective of advantages; At the concept advocacy level, we should avoid the one size fits all approach of "giving up food for choking", actively improve the information literacy of the elderly, advocate the healthy use of the Internet by the elderly, and promote the construction of a digital inclusive society for the elderly.
"How to cure the Internet Addiction of the elderly? This prescription should be given not only to the elderly, but also to their children, to the society, but also to our doctors themselves." Chenbangding said that the addiction of the elderly to the Internet is not a simple medical problem, but a complex social problem.
Chenbangding believes that for the elderly, they should learn to make rational use of mobile phones, learn to surf the Internet, and learn to "get off" the Internet. They should not be kidnapped by the Internet; For children, we should give high-quality companionship to the elderly, don't ignore, don't be left out in the cold; For the society, we should pay more attention to the elderly in the construction of urban infrastructure and spiritual civilization, provide more venues for the elderly, organize more activities that the elderly are willing to participate in, enrich their lives, help them better integrate into the society, and stay away from "digital addiction".
"As a doctor engaged in psychological intervention, I feel that our medical services should not only pay attention to the 'Internet addicted youth', but also to the 'Internet addicted elderly'. We should give better medical assistance to the 'small' and 'old' who need help most, to help them get rid of their Internet addiction and return to health." Chenbangding added.