Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Age Versus Aptitude

Thought #1...Is there a perception that older people aren't able to effectively use newer technology?

OK...let's get right to the point...do you think the ability to use the newer techie devices is dependant on your age? Is there a link between age and aptitude??

Why do I ask??? Well, I was reading a blog several weeks ago that was written by a "20 something"  year old, who was talking about her mother. Her mom had just  gotten her first smart phone and the blogger was getting a bunch of goofy text messages. Such as:

                            Is the sAle on saT orsunday?

 I don't mean to be coming across as critical of the blog...not in the least.  The blogger that I am referring to is hysterical.  Whether or not her mother actually typed that text or not, her post was a riot.  This is all good, as her blog is supposed to be humerous. (and it is) My problem began when I read all the comments. While the blogger had me laughing,  some of  her commenters didn't. In all fairness, to the commenters, it is not their job to be funny.  (and they succeeded)

There were 43 people that left comments  (not including me... that probably should of kept my comment to  myself) that were having an absolute laugh-fest implying that there mothers were morons.  Seems  all of their moms not only don't know how to text but they don't know  how to do a lot of other things as well. A few managed to throw their dads under the bus just for good measure. Turns out a few dads don't even own a cell phone. If that makes them lesser dads, I am not sure.

At that point,  I started feeling like I was in a dodgeball game with 43 throwers on one side and just little ole me on the other.  AND they throw hard. 

The impression I got from the comments was that being young is an automatic key to being proficient with electronic devices. There was a air of superiority directly linked to their youth, when in fact their proficiency has to do with factors that have nothing to do with the number of years they have been alive.

I am especially sensitive to age these days but I am relatively competent with computers and smart phones.  Anyway....for the last 3 weeks I have been covertly watching people 55 and older and taking note as to whether or not they know their sh** when it comes to using gadgets.

 After looking around for the better part of a month, here are some of my observations. I don't think this is an age thing. I think there are some people of  all ages  that are or can be proficient with  the newer technologies. Then, there are some  (again in all age groups) that  don't give a rat's ass about newer technology and therefore just don't engage in learning or using it.  AND... there are some people that are just  plain idiots.  But with that being said, there are also some genuine geniuses out there.  Some of these smarty-pants types are older than me. (which by some people's measure is really f!%$#&* OLD)

So my conclusion is that while those commenters are feeling pretty smug because they are young, they really should just be smug (if one should actually ever be smug) because they have a some level of knowledge and capabilities as far as using electronics.

Thought #2 - I can see where proficiency in using devices leads to tormenting others. (I am not condoning or endorsing...just pointing out that it might.)

As I went back and reread the comments, I can see where some of the "young ones"  anecdotes about the things their moms did or didn't do with their cell phones were pretty humorous. If it wasn't for the fact that the blame seemed to be inferred to the age of the moms as opposed to the actual lack of knowledge, I would have been enjoying their little stories a bit more.

In fact, I sometimes like to take the opportunity to tease some of my own family members in regards to their device deficiencies. One in particular...my one and only sibling..my brother.    He actually is fairly proficient at using computers but continues to do the minimum on his cell phone. His phone has the capability to  receive texts but he rarely uses texting as he is one of "those people" that claim if he has something to say, he would just call the person.

BTW ....I can dish  out abuse out far better than I can take it.  Also, I am not screwing with him because he is a year older than me.  That would just be mean. I am screwing with him because he is just fun to screw with.

So on a day that I had nothing better to do, I sent a text to him.  (Note to anyone younger than.. say 50... yes, I know how to text.)

For you that need a tutorial the green messages are mine and the grey messages are "Brother".

This is the kind of thing that will keep him up for a few nights as I now have planted the seed that he bought a stupid smart phone. Actually, he probably had his cell phone provider's customer service rep on the line by the time I set my phone down on my desk. 

 Maybe I should call him and let him off the hook. OR..... Perhaps I will give him some "interesting" tips on how to give his phone some remedial education so it too can be SMARTER.

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Linda Medrano said...

I swore I'd never text. I text all the time. I swore I'd never use a Kindle. I use it constantly. I have to go kicking and screaming into the realm of new technology, but I get there eventually.

Rita McGregor said...

I also go kicking and screaming, but learn enough to get by and am glad to know what I do know. I think one of the things that bothers me is how the people who have grown up using all this technology just accept the fact that nothing lasts very long, it all has glitches & problems, and they are perfectly willing to dump the old and grab the new while the old was still working perfectly fine. That's the main difference I see. For example--my being perfectly willing to use an old dumb cell phone (which I never thought I'd have one of those in the first place) and being reluctant to get a new smart phone because the old dumb one was working just fine is found highly amusing by my son and DIL--and many other folks a few decades younger than I. It seems impractical to me. But they have grown up in a world where there very few things made that can even be repaired anymore. Costs more to repair than to buy a new one. Most of them don't even know what a repair shop is. Talk to them about fixing toasters, TVs, stereos, and even shoes...it's like you have come from another land. LOLOL! ;)

Cheryl P. said...

I am on the other end of the spectrum. I can't wait for the next version of "whatever is new" to get released. I just love the gadgets. Then when I get used to something and swear I can't live without it, the newer model comes out with something even better. I loved my Kindle then discovered, I love my Kindle on my IPad even more. I'm a sick individual for sure.

Cheryl P. said...

I totally agree that the kids have grown up with a lot of the technology but everything moving so fast,now they too will have to run to keep up with the ever changing gadgetry. The real advantage they have is they are so comfortable with it.
You make a great point about how disposable everything is. I try to reign in the amount of consumer goods I buy and try to buy things that last, esp. large ticket items but I will say, I am BAD about the techie things like cell phones and laptops. I love when the new version come out. I try to always give my retired cell phones to women's shelters or our church to pass out to people in need so it isn't a total waste.
And you are also right...nothing (hardly) can be repaired. The cost of repairs toward older anything is hardly worth it. It staggers my mind how the world has changed just in my adulthood.

Paul Barnes said...

Hi Cheryl,

I found that some of the "older crowd" simply refuse technology. Then there are those with the "deer in the headlights" look when you mention computers or smart phones. I like how you played your brother with the "stupid, smart phone" I may play this on my sister soon! LOL


oldereyes said...

Here's my take. Many "more mature" people simply don't think these technology skills are worth the bother so they don't bother to learn. Or they're not important enough to become proficient. On the other hand to younger users, these are simply small muscle skills that they've learned ... like writing was to us. My three year old grandaughter can do many things on a smart phone because she's always been around them. The arrogance comes from the fact that people think being able to use consumer technology is some sort of intelligence. It's not ... it's just a motor skill.

Cheryl P. said...

That is a large part of it. There are a lot of people just resistant to using it. I would think it is becoming more of a handicap not being computer literate. Now to check in at a doctor's office or even the DMV you have to use a computer kiosk. I like all the gadgets but don't like the total disconnect between customer service and people. I think some things still require human interaction.

Cheryl P. said...

I thnk it is getting more and more difficult to have that point of view. Everyday tasks are now handled by computers and many are such that you aren't given a choice. My dentist for example...to check in you go to a computer kiosk and wait till your number comes up on the screen.
I do agree that some younger people confuse the use of devices as a form of intelligence. Only so much as it shows they are capable of learning. There is also a hiarchy as to the level of people's toys. Not so different that what you drive. (only a lot less expensive) Your Galaxy (that is what your phone is, isn't it?) is way more impressive (by most people's point of view) than a 10 year old Nokia.

meleahrebeccah said...

My mom is 64 years old and more tech-savy than MOST 20 year olds. So there!

And, I am SO hysterical over YOUR text messages!

Grandpa said...

What r u doing????

Cheryl P. said...

Why do you ask?

Michele Eigler said...

I got drug into technology kicking and screaming. Finally I've come to accept it. However, when it comes to anything techie, compared to our kids, I look like a chicken trying to use a pencil. My only solace is that however challenged I look doing it, Doug is always worse.:)

Cheryl P. said...

Seems that you aren't alone. I love all the creative stuff people can do, like blogs, websites, and such. I don't like using computers to replace human interaction such as I think Facebook is overused and people tend to think of it as a substitute for "face-to-face" friendships.
My husband is very savvy on the computer but in different areas than I am. He is great at Excel and I am a wiz at Publisher and Gimp. Different strokes for different folks is really true when you are talking about key strokes.

totsymae said...

It's not learning a foreign language. Older people can and do acquire the skills to use technology for their personal needs. I'm glad to see there are classes that are offerered for seniors to gain these skills. My son has laughed at me with the phone deal but I know a great deal of software he doesn't. I know so much more than he does in general so I don't feel badly for not knowing the smart phone.

L.C. Griffith said...

Cheryl, this post had me in stitches. I love how you screwed with your brother;) Anyway, there was a time when I was forced into using new technology. At first I wasn't aware of auto correct and many of my texts were sent out before checking the content. That was embarrassing.
And then there was the time I asked my daughter to show me how to open a My Face account...I still haven't lived that one down.
But now, after a couple of years of blogging and texting I feel totally competent. Okay not totally, as just last week a friend of mine talked me into using the username Big Creamy Bitch on an obscure site. I thought it would be funny so I went ahead. Turns out the site is not so obscure and I've been told that there is no way to change it. I'll have to ask my daughter. I'm not making a very good case for your point am I? LOL!!

Cheryl P. said...

Really, any phone...smart or not ...it's what you get used to using. I used to have a little flip phone before I got my first smart phone, probably about 6 years ago. Anyway...last week a friend was having a problem with her little flip phone and asked me to go into the menu and change a setting. Deer in headlights moment...My Iphone, I totally get... but couldn't remember how to use the menu on a phone that doesn't have a touch screen.
Not about intellegence as much as familiarity.

Cheryl P. said...

Hi Leah!!! or should I call you Big Creamy Bitch!!!! That is too funny and I am the one that is LOL. If I had your phone number I would text you. How r u BCB?

L.C. Griffith said...

Yeah...well, I guess I'll keep my number to myself! LOLOL!!!

Nicky said...

OMG, that's hysterical!! My parents have a cell phone - to receive calls only- and that's about it. My mom has my old computer from at least 10 years ago and only uses it to play solitaire. I think they're a little intimidated by technology. My dad is still upset that VCRs are obsolete. I don't think it has anything to do with their age, though. I think it's just the way they are. My aunt, who is older than my mom, is pretty computer savvy.

Cheryl P. said...

I think you are right that it isn't an age thing. People just get comfortable in doing things a certain way. The problem is that technology is moving so fast that if you blink you are way behind in the learning curve. Ahhh...thats' cute about your dad liking his VCR but he'd better hold on..I bet even DVD's will be considered obsolete at some point when everyone just does digital downloads. Does he still have a working VHS system?