Using Tech to Connect
The overused, and generally, unfunny joke is that, senior citizens are utterly hopeless at using technology. From sending an e-mail, to turning on their computer, it is believed impossible for them to accomplish. And honestly? That makes perfect sense. It wasn't until the 90s that technology that we know today became an integral part of daily life. Today's youngest senior citizens would have been in their late 30s by then, with families and jobs to worry over instead of the newest Atari console. (You read that right, Atari, and yes my dad did have one.) It was found, from the Pew Research Institute, that the majority of seniors DO need help with learning technology. But, once they receive instruction on how to navigate the digital world, 71% use the internet on nearly a daily basis. All it takes is a tech tutor.
Who better to teach the generation that's "so bad at tech" than the generation that's "too good at it"? An article by The Mercury News discusses one group of teens efforts. Started in 2013, the organization "Teach Seniors Technology" has taught 300 seniors and counting how to operate tablets, upload photos, and more. “There’s all this wonderful new technology out there but they can’t use it, so then that’s a problem. You’re leaving out a major group of people that can’t utilize this new technology,” says Michelle Zhang, president of the organization. (All quotes taken directly from The Mercury News) By offering lessons to seniors, it enables a greater independence for them to "catch up" with the rest of the world. But what's in it for the teens? Well in Salt Lake City, according to KLM.com, the teens learn patience and compassion for a generation they might otherwise have difficulty connecting with.
Hurrah! Grandma can finally use Facebook!
The importance of individuals being able to access the digital world is tremendous. From knowing what the weather will be to planning a vacation to visit relatives, for many seniors who use the internet, understanding tech is a necessity. But not only that, according to the Pew Research Institute, 81% of seniors who use social media connect more frequently with others than compared to the 63% of non-users. Having access to Facebook and texting is a social and mental benefit to those who may live alone or who are unable to leave their house. With the world becoming more and more dependent on technology, it is important to leave no man behind.
Until next post,