My aunt at 84 is one of the most computer literate people I know. She knows how to use the latest iPad, has downloaded Apps that even myself I have no idea how to use, and proudly carries with her the latest iPhone!
Are all older people as comfortable with the latest gadgets and internet tools as my aunt? Unfortunately, no!
A recent study indicates that 84% of American adults use the Internet. The same study shows that older adults have stayed behind younger adults in their use of the internet and only 58% of senior citizens uses the internet. If you think that nearly 100% of kids over the age of 7 use the internet for almost all activities, about half of grandpas and grandmas are not using the net for at all.
Only 58% of senior citizens in the US use the internet
However, it is estimated that with the support of the state and digital entrepreneurship things will change in the next 10 to 15 years. The question is, how older mums and dads can make a start using the internet, without the technology itself putting them off.
In this article, I have just three simple things about the internet any person, of any age, can learn.
Learn how to send Email
It makes a huge difference to a child, and the way the child feels connected and appreciated by a grandparent, if there is communication with the grandparent via email or any other of the modern ways of communication used by kids today.
My mum and dad wrote their messages manually using a pen and paper. It took several days before a letter would arrive at the recipient. Nowadays, we use email to send messages to people anywhere the world at the speed of light. Our older mums and dads should learn how to use email because it’s important in communication, especially with their families and grandkids.
Learn how to use social media
Social media is one of many important tools in interacting and communicating. There are several social media platforms nowadays with Facebook being the most popular among people over 50. Right now social media is not just for reaching family, liking photos and posting comments. It is the main way for staying informed with current affairs and news. Our mums and dads in their 70s can also learn how to use social media so that they connect with their friends and relatives that, may be, have not talked with for years. They can also be updated by reading and watching the news.
Learn how to Search
Imagine, how life would be like without Search? How would we search for people, places, product reviews? Through online search, elderly people can easily find the name of a person, his address, and his job. They can search the web to find a retreat, a place where they can relax and unwind. They can explore the web for product reviews before they make a purchase something online.
The young generation helping the old one
Most young people know how to use a computer and are very good at searching the internet. We called them millennial. I consider myself as a millennial because I grew up with personal computers, video games and cell phones. I feel the myself and my kids would be the best teachers to show our parents and grandparents how to use the web.
Grandparents learning internet skills by grandkids
My parents and grandparents didn’t have the same education in technology. However, as my older aunt has clearly demonstrated it is never too late to learn. What do you think?