I think I understand why seniors are so afraid of new technology. Believe me. I get it. Being a millennial, I tend to think that younger people, the ones that were born after me, the gen Z, probably know much more about technology than I do. Of course, we can’t generalize but most of them probably do.
But being a millennial means that I was born in between. I am the generation who grew up having some access to technology (very little access comapred to the next generation, but at least some). And I am also the generation who grew up not thinking of technology of “esential” in our everyday lives. Back then, the articicial revolution was just starting. So I believe that gives us some insight. I think millenials can very well understand the struggles of previous generation ms when it comes to learn new technologies. And we can maybe approach this issue with some clarity.
What is the #1 advice seniors should get about learning new technology? Just don’t be afraid of trying.
What are the 10 best pieces of advice seniors should get about learning new technology?
1. Don’t be afraid of trying out.
Make as much mistakes as you can, push as much buttons as you want, reinitiate, reinstall, it doesn’t matter. Well, as long as you don’t break anything. Which you probably won’t.
2. Whatever happens, don’t panic.
As I just mentioned above, you probably won’t break your device by trying out, and most of “serious” actions you can make are followed by warnings. Just read well the warnings before hit the button. Most seniors I know – including my mom here – panic right there when they see a pop-up warnign message and just freeze.
3. Don’t give up. Don’t give in.
If it doesn’t work one way, just try again another way. If you are trying a new app, there is probably 3 buttons to push. Try each one and see what happens. It will take you less than 5 minutes to learn something new. Believe me, you got this.
4. Practice, practice, and practice.
This advice comes side by side with the previous one. Practice is the key. No one can learn a new skill without practicing. And new technology, at least some basics such as how to use WhatsApp for instance, it’s an essential new skill to learn if you want to thrive in our modern world.
5. If you feel too insecure, ask your friends, relatives – children and grandchildren – to help.
If you are tired of trying to figure out for yourself, it’s OK, and sometimes even necessary, to ask your friends or relatives to help you out. But remember to try to understand what they do, so you can try do it yourself next time you need it. You would be surprised on how may times I have done the exact same simple thing for my mother for her to use her WhatsApp.
6. If something doesn’t feel too intuitive for you, just write down on a paper all the steps you need to do what you want to do.
It makes me mad that my mother refuses to learn something she uses daily, preferring to keep relying on everyone else to do it for her. We had this discussion too many times, just try to be opened about learning it yourself.
7. Keep in mind that most people – me for instance – are not sure about what they need to do for some new tech to work out.
A new feature in an old app can be as challenge for seniors as it is for anyone. The difference is in the state of mind and the belief they can easily figure out how to crack it. It’s all in your mind.
8. New technologies are cool. Keep your mind open to them.
I am not saying you need to know everything about Snapchat, Twitter or TikTok – I don’t even use these things. But it’s always interesting what all the fuzz is about. You may think it’s probably silly but if there is so many people talking about it, it should at least worth a 10-min reading to learn a little bit about it. That way seniors can also even understand their grandchildren better while having interesting conversations with them.
9. Don’t compare with other folks, the same age as you, who seem to be more (or less) tech savvy than you.
This doesn’t help AT ALL. Every single time I ask my mother to pay attention to what I am doing for her on her phone so she can learn it and try it alone next time, she tells me about her friend who doesn’t even have a phone. Or it’s all the way around, she tells me how much easier it is for my dad – or some other senior who happens to be curious about learning new stuff. What can I say? Each head is a world. Again, this kind of comparison doesn’t help at all.
10. Always remember: if so many people can get it, you can get it too. Believe in yourself.
If so many people – even 5 years old – can manage a cell phone, a call in WhatsApp, a video call in Skype, a smart TV, whatever it is you are trying to learn, you can do it too. As I mentioned before, most of this new tech devices nowadays are becoming more and more user friendly and are pretty intuitive. For a call in WhatsApp all you need to do is to press the phone icon, for a video call in Skype, the video icon, for the smart TV, yes, you guessed it, press on the TV icon… and so on.
I know this is just the start, and that there are many other things you want to learn about WhatsApp, Skype or Smart TVs… but you have to start somewhere right?!
The Bottom Line
Please also remember, I am always here to help. As I am always around to help my mother when she comes with all kinds of questions. The examples I gave in this post are mostly about WhatsApp, Skype and Smart TV, because these re the technologies she uses the most. She is now adventuring herself on Instagram because we finally convinced her that it was the best way to keep in track of everywhere, and every picture, us, her children take. Since we are all around the world and far from her, we figured that it would be a great way to keep her on the loop.
What about you? What are the technologies, devices, apps, you use (or would like to use) the most?
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