“Net smarts are not just vital to getting ahead; you need this knowledge to keep from falling behind.” (Rheingold, Howard; Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, 2012)
Technology is ever-changing. Reading the Rheingold quote above, I thought about all the people in my life who have no idea how to use a computer and call me with basic tech support. One person comes to mind in particular: my dad.
To be fair, the guy just turned 91 two weeks ago. (No seriously, he really is over 90. I’m his youngest child.) His mental capacity is still there, albeit slightly diminished due to old age, but he just doesn’t bother to use it anymore. He stopped trying to learn new technology after flip phones became the new craze back in the early ’00s.
I’ve tried getting him to use a smartphone. My husband’s grandmother uses an iPhone just fine! Yet he tried it for all of 3 days and then chucked it to the side claiming it was too complicated. The man specialized in radio technology back in the ’50s! He knew how to fix pre-computerized cars and understood the inner works of engines enough to poke around through them! I imagine if he were born 70 years later, he would be a computer genius! And yet, no matter how many times I’ve explained not to click those ads at the bottom of some of those websites he visits, he just tunes me out and keeps doing it over and over again!
So what’s stopping people from learning about new technological advancements? I think it’s stubbornness. Maybe I’m biased because I lived with a healthy old dude for a dad for a good 18 years of my life, but overall I think people can easily learn intuitive tech if they just give it a hands-on look. Sure, once you hit a certain time in your life, memory loss is a good excuse, but my dad’s only had memory issues more recently. The last decade is no excuse. He could have tried, but he didn’t want to, so he lost out on learning more effective ways of keeping up with friends and family as well as ways to obtain breaking news immediately instead of waiting for the television/newspaper to say something about it.
Watching my dad get lost in old technology makes me determined NOT to fall behind. When new updates occur, both physically and socially, I plan on keeping up as I always have to insure I never end up stuck in my ways like he is. Luckily, it’s a topic I’ve always been interested in. Though I may not understand the inner workings of computers to the same extent my dad understood cars and radios, I do get how technology works as a whole in connecting people to information and each other to know how important it really is.
You can teach an old dog new tricks. The dog just needs to stop being stubborn.
P.S. I do love my dad despite him being the most obstinate person I know.