I live about 2 ½ hours away from my immediate family and thousands of miles away from my extended family. In an effort to keep them connected to my little family, especially my toddler, I am constantly texting pictures to them. This has become a problem for my Nana who has a flip phone with a tiny screen. I have been trying to convince her of the benefits of an iPhone. Now, my grandma is not what I would call a laggard. She can navigate a computer, at least a PC (she couldn’t find Safari on my Mac), she texts regularly and she even has an ipod. But when it comes to her phone, trying to get her to evolve is like pulling teeth.
I know my grandma is not the only one. Many an elderly generation are completely against newer technologies. They fail to see the benefit in it and have become increasingly stubborn at accepting changes. Advances in technology are rapidly changing. Just when we get used to one, a new one evolves. It is our responsibility as digital natives to help guide older people into new technologies. By showing them how to use new gadgets, we encourage their growth and development, thus closing the gap in the digital divide. New technology does not have to be a laggard’s enemy. I believe there are ways to acclimate older generations into new technologies without them kicking and screaming. I believe it is up to younger generations to show them the way. We can show them the validity of new technologies and how it has the ability to make their life better and easier. Here are some tips I’ve used:
- Be patient. You didn’t learn to talk or walk in day. Learning a new technology can be difficult and frustrating for older people. It requires lots of patience because getting frustrated will make for a negative experience. This will detour them from learning.
- Explain things in simple terms. Use words and phrases they’ll understand and take them through step by step processes. Don’t talk down to them, just explain things basically. Yes, you might have to repeat yourself. This is where patience comes in.
- Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t try and explain every detail and feature of a new technology all at once. Explain a few things at a time and give them a chance to try it out.
I believe by following these easy steps, we can help ease the transition of older people adopting new technologies.