It’s obvious, every single one of us is a product of our generation. Not only literally but socially as well, I am an 80’s child and I have a fond love for Lisa Frank school supplies and have always wanted my family to be featured on Double Dare!
Luckily, I have also grown up in the age of ever-changing technology. I’ve had to learn to adapt from the radio to the cassette player, from CDs to MP3s and now iTunes. My ability to learn and adhere to new technology has been challenging at times but overall a good experience which has helped me and others of my generation become more open to change and opportunity for improvement.
This past holiday I went home to visit my family and found myself frustrated as I tried to convince and teach my parents, in-laws and other various family members about the benefits of technology; from smartphone apps to the GPS in the car I found myself irritated at the lack of interest in using new technologies thus inspiring my first blog post of the new year!
Working for an internet ad agency, I find it absolutely essential to be open to change and new progression in technology – especially on the digital front. How is it possible that so many baby boomers are so opposite from this? Resistant to change and complacent with how things are, it’s obvious that things are ever-changing so why not just embrace it and enjoy it? I am perplexed just trying to make sense of it. Rather than just ranting my way through this blog post I thought I’d attempt to list easy to learn, simple to use technologies which may be a good fit for the baby boomer in your life!
Computers and Laptops
Even if it’s just for simple use such as reading news online or playing games. Having and operating a computer is part of our current lifestyle. Setup some bookmarks to help demonstrate the assets of using the computer and the internet in everyday life. Guide them through how to use the internet, search engines and email – before you know it they’ll be surfing the net all on their own!
Many baby boomers enjoy having and using cell phones for the convenience factor but the idea of a smartphone is obsolete. Many don’t see the need to pay for extra data fees when they only intend to use the phone for calling and receiving calls. A great way to convince them is to send texts or picture messages to show them how much fun texting can be. Also, setup their email for them and show them how to check and respond to emails from their phone. You can also help them download apps which they will enjoy that will start them off on the right foot such as an app to their favorite store, news periodical, TV channel or magazine.
Oh, how the baby boomer loves to balance their checkbook! According to pewinternetreports.org half of all baby boomer have made the switch while the other half still holds onto fear of security breaches and identity theft. Teach and show the baby boomers in your life how you use your online banking, how much time you’re able to save and how secure your funds are. Hopefully, they’ll see the obvious benefits and get the picture before long!
Paper maps are a thing of the past. For most baby boomers going on a trip as a child consisted of watching one parent trying to unfold a giant map in the car while the other parent insisted that the destination had been overshot by only a couple hundred miles. To save them and those in the car with them of this on-going nightmare show them how to operate their GPS and express the improved quality of life that comes along with it. Start out small with a familiar destination close by and gradually improve the distance in travel to help increase their trust in the GPS.
The largest and most rapidly growing demographic of social media users are baby boomers. Before they take the plunge be sure to help them decide which platform(s) are best suited for them. If they’re social and want to interact with old high school friends and relatives then Facebook is the place for them. If not, they may be more interested in Twitter or Pinterest. Get them started by helping them create their profile and add friends and images to share.
I hope you feel inspired and ready for a challenge but know in the long run that once you’ve helped them learn these new tools they’ll be happy and glad you taught them. Just remember to be patient and available to answer questions when needed.
Also, one last thing – if you are a baby boomer and you’re reading this, “Congratulations!”, you’ve successfully bridged the generation gap and this post is obviously not about you, so please, go easy on the comments 😉