Many young people believe elders are technology challenged and indeed, a larger percentage of old people do not use computers and the internet than do young folks.
One reason is that many elders retired before computers were ubiquitous in the workplace and so were forced to learn on their own. Some succeeded, maybe with help from adult children or young grandchildren. Others never tried. But our numbers are increasing.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project released its annual Generations report this week. It shows that although 58 percent of people age 65 to 73 use the internet, only 30 percent of those 74 and older do so. Actually, I think those are pretty good percentages given the challenges novices face.
The survey reports that the number one reason for not using the internet (among all age groups) is “just not interested” - 31 percent. The fourth ranked reason is “too difficult” (9 percent). Although the study doesn't break down that result by age, I suspect they both are concentrated in elder age groups.
Yesterday, Stone Bridges became the latest blogger to join TGB's Where Elders Blog feature admitting to being a bit of a technophobe while noting the 1980's telephone next to the computer. It's a fun anomaly.
By definition, anyone who reads this blog uses a computer and the internet. But I wondered, as I read the note from Stone yesterday and the Pew study, how “techie” we are. To check on myself, I took an inventory of my modern technology usage:
Smart phone with Blutooth earpiece
Those are the major pieces of hardware. I don't consider a modem, router, external hard drive for backups and printer particularly techie as once they are set up, they just toot along without too much need to understand them.
If you don't count a recent difficulty connecting the Kindle to my wi-fi, I understand most of the computing processes that can occasionally cause problems and I don't have much trouble fixing them when necessary.
It's pretty amazing what we've learned, I think, when you recall that the most complex technology we used as kids were dial telephones and radio knobs.
What technology do you use and how comfortable or proficient are you with it?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, D. Sugar: From Coney Island to Madison Square Garden, Ruby Kessler