It’s a well-known fact that Millennials were practically born with an i-pad and smartphone in hand. At the same time, Baby Boomers and older (and even some Gen-Xers) who did not major in computer science are frequently less technologically adept. Some older generations even express pride in their refusal to accept digital trends like Facebook and texting, citing a preference for old-fashioned voice to voice or in-person communication. But not embracing technology can be a real disadvantage for middle age and older generations.
4 consequences of not embracing technology include:
1) Increased isolation. Even though social media, texting, e-mail and Skype are no substitute for in-person socializing, they can help keep us connected to people and activities we love.
2) Less job and volunteer opportunities. More older persons than ever are delaying retirement for a variety of reasons. Managers of all generations have less patience for those not “connected.”
3) Not knowing how to use a cell phone or access news on a phone app can be a real disadvantage in an emergency situation.
4) Lack of knowledge about digital communication leads to one experiencing more ageism in the workplace and even in social situations. For example, have you ever been the only one at a party that hasn’t seen that hilarious YouTube video going around?
While there’s nothing wrong with preferring talking on the phone or meeting in person for coffee, not embracing technology often leads others to believe you are “out of touch.”
Here are 4 tips for older persons who are not embracing technology yet:
1) Take a class at a senior center, library or community college. Many of these sessions are free and many community colleges offer classes to persons 60+ at discounted rates.
2) Ask a younger family member or friend to show you the basics. Let them know what your goals are. Do you just want to learn how to set up an online dating account or have you never even turned on a computer before?
3) Ask a trusted younger colleagues for help learning computer and online skills. In return show them how to do something you know how to do well.
4) Consider 78-year old actor and activist George Takei as a role model. He has reinvented his career and image in his late seventies with Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. It’s never too late to embrace technology to enhance your life!