Whenever I read about baby boomers being virulent tech adopters, I tend to shake my head, because my almost thirty self desperately wants to be the centre of the tech world, even though boomers have more money than I do to buy these gadgets, so it only makes sense that they lead the way in the purchase of things such as Apple products. However, it helps me to remind myself, especially as the holidays get closer, that financial prowess isn’t the initial reason our families buy this equipment. Your parents want to adapt to the world, and they probably want you to teach them.
My mother is 53 (Hi Mom, sorry for telling the internet your age) and my father is 61. They raised me in a beautiful house in the woods, and while we had the latest in TVs and satellites, all we could get was dial up internet.
Since they moved down to another part of town where technology is more available, they have embraced what the internet can do utterly and completely. Before, a tool that was primarily used for sending emails and checking sports scores and the news papers has opened up a world for them they couldn’t even believed existed, and they get so excited by it, I think sometimes it almost frustrates them because they don’t always feel equipped. In the time I have been home, I’ve taught my mom, who has always been an enthusiastic tech adopter how to use blogger, so she can connect with vintage jewellery fans. (Check it out here. And leave a comment. She’d love it.)
I taught my father, who is a little less tech inclined to copy and paste files, and how to insert text into an existing email. They’re all set up with Google drives, and I know now I can go home and prepare for shared documents and questions about what I’ve set up for them, galore, but most of all, I know they’ll feel more empowered to navigate the world around them as it moves further and further away from what any of us is familiar with.
I know for some of us, teaching someone how to copy and paste, or use email can be painfully frustrating, and I know the feeling of explaining to someone how to use the piece of equipment that you only wish you could afford, but I know for my parents, technology becomes a way to connect with the world, their friends, and ultimately me. It lets them feel, and be relevant to a world they still are very much a part of, despite what some of us may think.
So when your Dad is asking you why his ‘internet doesn’t work’, because he has ten different tool bars installed in his browser, or your mom is trying to understand iCloud, just try remember when they taught to to tie your shoes for the hundredth time or when they helped you with your math homework, and try, try again, because you’re in a position of empowering your parents beyond their purchases into someone that ten years ago, none of you even imagined.
Now remind them to make sure their capslock is off, and if all else fails, try turning it on and off again.
Image source: Yuilop.com