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Why Older Generations Fear Technology And What Can Be Done To Change It

Updated on April 14, 2016

You're Never Too Old To Enjoy Technology

Both my parents are over sixty years old. My Dad uses computers all the time. He has a smartphone and a laptop. Whenever I'm around him, it's like being around a teenager. He's glued to both his computer and smartphone, even during holidays. He has a facebook account, so he's also familiar with social media and he's e-mailing people at work all the time.

My Mom, on the other hand, has never had a reliable computer. I recently bought her a tablet a few months ago on Christmas, but it's still confusing to her sometimes. She gets stuck using it and needs my help on occasion. She never understood how to use e-mails. She had one a long time ago, but it got taken over by spam bots.

I write e-books. My Dad has purchased and downloaded all of them. My Mom wanted me to hurry and make physical copies of my e-books because she couldn't figure out how to use an e-book.

Both my parents are around the same age, so why is my Dad so into technology and my Mom not? What sets them apart if it's not their ages?

Adjusting To New Things

I believe a lot of older people have trouble adjusting to new things. Not because they aren't as smart as younger people, but because they've been doing certain things a specific way all of their life and they don't want to change it.

Change can be scary and intimidating. You spent all your youth learning how to be an adult, you don't want the world to change, so you have to go through that process again. But the world is always changing whether we like it or not.

Adjusting Is About Attitude

What a lot of older people don't get is that young people have just as much trouble as older people when it comes to picking up a piece of technology. They don't pick up a smartphone or tablet for the first time and instantly know how to use it. They also don't read the guides on how to use it. They just keep pressing every button they can for fun, until they learn all the features of a new piece of technology.

There's nothing wrong with going to a class if some part of tecnhology is scary and new, but I do not think it's necessary. Anyone, at any age, can learn about a new piece of technology on their own. Most people are self-tauight.

I believe the reason why a lot of older people like my Mom have trouble learning about technology is because they view it as a chore instead of something fun. They view it as something they have to learn, rather than something to entertain them. They're not allowing themselves to be curious about something new. They pick up a piece of technology and expect to understand exactly how to use it immediately. They get frustrated when they don't, complain about it, and sometimes get rid of it. Instead of realizing that not knowing how a piece of technology works is half the fun. You could discover that it could do all kinds of cool things eventually. The possibilities are endless before you get used to it and it's limitations.

My Dad majored in computers in college (way before computers were in everyone's homes) before he went to law school. My father works as a lawyer, but he knows all kinds of things about computers. He knows much more than I do, even though I am half his age. You might say this is because he has a degree, but back then computers were much different than what they are today. If he didn't continue to learn after he graduated, he'd know nothing now. He knows what he knows because computers interest him and he cares about them. He enjoys using them and the convenience of what they allow him to accomplish.

Patience Is Important For Everyone

It's important to be patient when using technology and not expect to understand everything right away.

This goes for everyone, including people who are helping their parents or other older people with computers. I'll never understand why people get impatient teaching other people about technology. It's simple to answer questions and arrogant to get angry at someone for not understanding a specific topic as much as they do.

Parents are the same people who taught us how to walk, changed our diapers, fed us all of growing up, and made sure we had a place to live. They didn't mock us when we tried to walk about how stupid we were because we couldn't take more than a few steps. They didn't run across the room, pointing and laughing because we couldn't do the same. They encouraged us and made learning how to walk exciting and fun. They praised us when we achieved things and worked with us when we couldn't.

The least we can do is offer help and encouragement for them when they are learning technology.

Bridging The Gaps

I think it's important that we bridge the gaps between generations. We are really not that different, even though we may have grown-up under various circumstances.

I remember when I was twelve years old and I had a lot of older women I used to hang out with. They taught me all kinds of things about the past and told me stories of their lives. One of my older friends was a piano teacher who made sure I got lessons. I still cherish all that I've learned about piano to this day.

Because really, there is a lot we can learn from each other if we are patient. There is no reason to ignore one another just because we're not all identical.

You're never too old to learn new technology and never too young to learn from your elders. So open your minds and hearts to all ages of people.

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