At one point or another, and maybe presently, you may have felt overwhelmed, intimidated, frustrated or embarrassed because of technology. Or more precisely, your lack of understanding or proficiency with it. Here’s the thing though, many of us baby boomers were busy raising our kids in the 80s when home computers became mainstream. Stay at home moms (or dads), especially, were too busy to learn the ins and outs of a computer or just didn’t have the motivation at the end of a long day. Similarly, anyone who worked a job that didn’t require a computer may not have had the need or desire to learn the new technology that was slowly starting to take over the world.
Fast forward decades later and your kids are grown. You feel so behind that you don’t know where to begin. And the pandemic we're experiencing has likely forced this to the forefront of your daily life, as we're relying on technology more than ever before to stay connected.
What can be even more frustrating is how quickly our kids and even grandchildren seem to pick up on how to use different technologies. Before you let yourself feel bad or feel dumb because you can’t seem to catch on quickly, remember this: our kids that grew up in the 80s and 90s actually had “computer” classes throughout their school years to help them learn how to use a computer. So, they should know how to work technology! As for our grandkids, they practically came out of the womb and picked up an iPad. Technology just comes natural to kids when they are born into it. Also, there's evidence that kids learn skills faster than adults.
These things should encourage you to cut yourself a break, but also to take action. If you never properly learned something, you can’t expect too much of yourself.
Laptops, tablets, desktops, email, Windows, iPads, iPhones, WiFi, Google, Facebook, Zoom…if hearing some of these words gives you heart palpitations or makes you want to cover your ears and go to bed, then you may benefit from taking some classes. If you don’t take the time and make the effort, you’re never going to get comfortable with computers and phones. Wouldn't it be nice to stop feeling frustrated with yourself or to stop asking your kids all the time how to do this or that? If you think that sounds lovely, then where do you start?
If you’re reading this article, chances are you can at least go on a computer or phone, access the internet and surf the web. This may be the only thing you can do, but hey that’s something! If this is the case, you’ll be surprised at how many online classes, even free ones, exist to help older adults specifically. You can choose what exactly you want to learn and work your way through as many different subject areas as you’d like. Maybe you want help with social media. Maybe you just can’t seem to figure out Zoom and you really would like to join your friends and family on Zoom meetings. Maybe you know just enough to get by on your phone, but you’d really enjoy taking advantage of more of its features. Whatever you need help with, you can find it online.
If you’re more comfortable with good old fashioned in-person classes, those exist too. Or perhaps you’re a complete beginner and would benefit from some hands-on teaching. Check your local library or college to see what they offer, or enlist the help of your kid, grandkid or friend.
Once you dive into learning more, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much better you’ll feel about yourself or how quickly you start to pick things up. The first step is to simply take action. Learning something new later in life requires you to allow yourself to feel vulnerable. But it's definitely worth the effort!