August 01, 2014

Day 61: A Better Example of Things Our Parents Don't Get about Technology

a completely unrealistic and unnecessarily staged picture of my technology that I took just for this post
I made a serious mistake in my post yesterday and while I'm thankful that no one called me out on it, as someone who works in the legal industry, I know better.

You see, I claimed that older generations don't understand technology but then I only gave one example (the green dot). And although the green dot story was entirely true, it didn't mean much.

I mean, you can't just give one example to prove a solid point; perhaps the older generations at my firm just have a problem with stalkery. Maybe the issue has nothing to do with the green dot at all, and more so with my lack of general social etiquette.

That being said, today's post is nothing but a means for me to correct yesterday's error: here are four more concrete examples of aspects of technology that those of the pre-green dot era just don't understand.

1. Cell phone contacts. It seems to be a popular misconception among older folks that it is necessary to sign every text message as to not confuse the reader about who sent it. And when you try to tell them how unnecessary it actually is, their instinctive reply is usually some variation of, "OH OKAY. LOL, MOM."

2. Cell phone address books in general. My grandparents are pretty sophisticated for their age having a cell phone at all. However, some of its functions still give them trouble. For example, the address book.

See, they understand that our phone numbers can be saved "to their phone." However, whereas the convention is to do this by using the phone's address book, my grandparents choose to instead tape a piece of paper with our numbers... you guessed it... to the back of their phone.

3. Email. Again, I hate picking on my grandparents because the fact that they use email at all is pretty impressive. However, they do have trouble with some of email's more subtle features.

For example, I overhead them discussing once how my uncle sends his emails with red text, a skill that was deeply impressive but similarly quite confusing. I was more than entertained listening to them discuss possible explanations for my uncle's feat. (Ideas like "maybe he has a red cartridge in his computer" were thrown around.) God bless them.

4. The nuances of texting. Who told everyone over the age of 45 that you can't use your thumbs to text? It works, I promise!

Now, this is all good-hearted fun; I don't mean to be overly harsh on our elders. And really, their lack of reliance on technology can be a major advantage. I mean, God forbid I ever get lost without GPS signal.

But on the other hand, it'd be nice if we could all meet somewhere in the middle: we'd know how to unfold a paper map, and our parents would start making much better use of their thumbs.

Linking up with Sarah and Whitney.