Technology and the Older Generation Don’t Exactly Mix

Being that class will be focused on hardware, software, and the essentials of a computer and other technology, I thought it would be interesting to blog about an article concerning the users of these technologies. I think we have all seen our parents, and especially our grandparents, or anyone from an older generation struggle with the latest technology. We have all heard of or seen parents asking their young children for help with their phones or their computers. But how serious is this? Is it a problem? What does this mean for the current older generation?

Today, over 54% of people over the age of 65 are internet users. In 2000, only 13% of this age group used the internet. The number of older users has increased dramatically. Below is a graph that maps out the demographic of internet users today:

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As you can see, as the generations become older, the percentage of users becomes much less, and quickly. Even those who are deemed to be users are not exactly experts:

This is starting to become a concern because “without Internet access, older people could feel even more cut off than many already do.” Newspapers, for instance, may no longer exist with articles on the internet becoming the new phenomenon. As the world becomes more and more connected, and the world more flat due to Globalization 3.0, the older generation is only cut off more from the rest of the world. As the book indicates, “Software is everywhere—not just in computers, but also in cell phones, cars, cameras, and many other technologies.” As technology becomes more prevalent and more complex, older generations will be left behind even more. I never truly considered the problem that this could potentially cause for this generation. While software does not have to be understood to the extent it is laid out in chapter nine, it is still imperative for the older generations to feel comfortable around technologies if they are to keep up with the rest of the world. We live in an era where technology thrives, and this cannot be ignored or under appreciated.

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There are multiple organizations and programs trying to solve this problem. Examples include a “virtual senior center” and It’s Never 2 Late. These technologies attempt to educate seniors about the technological world, specifically introducing them to computers. However, “Money will be the big obstacle, of course.” These organizations will require large funds for their mission to be accomplished. However, as we discussed in class, the cheapening of technology will make this easier.

One last note…I am not advocating for the erasing of older generations’ traditions. I think they are paramount for today and for the world to come. I do think it is important for these generations to immerse themselves in the world that is technology.

What do you think?

http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/online-habits-coming-slowly-to-older-adults/?smid=tw-nytimestech&seid=auto (Here’s the Article for reference)

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5 thoughts on “Technology and the Older Generation Don’t Exactly Mix

  1. I really enjoyed reading this article, as it made me think about my parents and grandparents especially. My grandparents are not technologically savy, however, recently my grandma has expressed interest in getting a laptop. I don’t necessarily see this as a concern that older generations will feel more cut off from the rest of the world if they do not 100% keep up to date (because I don’t really think they know otherwise); however, I think many senior citizens, including my grandma, believe that technology will make things simpler in their lives.

    Your post also made me think about businesses, and how many older folks do not know about the latest technology. These individuals would probably be more efficient workers and expand business if they understand certain technoogical innovations. For example, many in our parents generation do not know how to use Twitter and I think could benefit from the organizations you mentioned. With that said, I agree with your comment that older generations must immerse themselves in today’s technology based world (in my opinion, particularly if it could improve a business). Overall, very interesting topic and I loved the video.

  2. It is inevitable that the older generation will lag in terms of development in general. When the Industrial Revolution began in the 19th Century, many people was skeptical of the success of it. Then come the electronic ages around the early 20th century, older people was skeptical of the new technologies then as well. I think it boils down to the essential of being too familiar with what we used to know. People tend to stick to the familiar; even we are in college now, some of us still consider the friends we had for a long time as those closest to us.

    Personally, I have to deal with such problems as well. My mum and dad are not the most tech savvy person in the world. I had to teach my mum over and over again about how to read her emails! (once she even opened microsoft word and thought it was internet explorer) I believe more funds should be given to organization like It’s Never 2 Late who are teaching senior citizen technology. Who knows, maybe when we are as old as our grandparents we might need it ourself!

  3. It is clear that the older generation is not acclimated to the technological advances we have made and that, often times, they are resistant to trying these technologies. For example, one of my grandparent’s is 96, and got his first cell phone last year. I had to drive over to his house to teach him how to use a simple flip phone, and he still doesn’t know how to use it nor want to. He doesn’t realize its important for him to be able to use it to contact us if he needs to when he’s out or for us to contact him to check in. I believe that the older generation’s hand will be forced by the necessity of technology. There will be a point where they just won’t be able to function efficiently without using it, and will have to give in and learn.

    However, there are two sides to this story. My dad is in his late 50’s and his dad is 80 and both of them may be more technologically savvy than I. My grandfather does the payroll for my dad’s business on the computer using a financial software and my dad’s entire line of work is directly related to technology. So there are older people out there who have acclimated to technology in a strong way.

  4. I thought this was a really interesting blog post. From reading other comments above, it is truly a relatable topic. I still laugh when I receive a text from my grandma because I just think the idea of her texting is funny. However, you bring up a very interesting point that the elderly are effected by the generational lag they experience in technology. If society keeps becoming more and more technologically integrated, their participation will slowly be diminished as well.

    I agree with you that preserving a traditions that the older generations value are important to society. They are the founding roots of many ideals that shape family values and customs. I think society would benefit a lot more by using programs such as Its never 2 late in order to keep those traditions alive even in the tech era of today.

    Finally, I really liked the use of the “special effects” in this blog. The graphs helped prove your point and the video comically helped people realize just how severe the generational lag can be. But, I thought the best part of the blog was the interactive poll that you incorporated. Not only was it just cool, but it allowed other readers to compare their opinion on the subject to other’s.

  5. Having parents that are tech savvy-er than most, I still run into so many issues with their technology at home. Every time I come home there is a new issue with something involving printers, computers, wireless, etc. But what about us? When will be start falling behind in technology? I honestly have hardly any idea how to use LinkedIn properly.

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