Overcoming Technological Illiteracy: Debunking the Age Excuse

Sofia Rodriguez

Updated Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 1:08 PM CDT

Overcoming Technological Illiteracy: Debunking the Age Excuse

Age is not the real obstacle to embracing technology

In today's fast-paced digital world, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. However, there is a prevailing notion that older individuals struggle with technology because of their age. In reality, laziness and stubbornness often play a more significant role in technological illiteracy.

Douglas Adams, in his thought-provoking book, "The ," sheds light on the perception that anything invented after the age of 35 is seen as unnatural. This perspective may contribute to older individuals feeling resistant to learning new technologies, as they perceive them as a disruption to the natural order of things.

To understand the challenges faced by older individuals, imagine living in a country where the official language changes every five years. The constant evolution of technology and user experience can be overwhelming, making it difficult for older individuals to keep up. It's not just a matter of learning how to use a new device; it's about adapting to an entirely new way of interacting with the world.

A compelling case that exemplifies the consequences of technological resistance is that of an attorney who refused to use email. Instead of embracing the necessary technological changes in their profession, the attorney set up an email with an automatic response redirecting people to contact them via phone or mail. This "malicious compliance" ultimately led to the attorney's disbarment, highlighting the importance of embracing technology in today's world.

However, it is essential to consider where to draw the line when teaching older individuals how to use technology. Simple tasks like using electronic picture frames, teaching Zoom or screen sharing, opening emails or attachments, printing, or downloading apps can be challenging for them. It is crucial to approach these lessons with patience and empathy, understanding that everyone learns at their own pace.

It's also worth noting that being young is not a guarantee of technical skills either. A survey mentioned in the revealed that managers' number one complaint about Gen-Z is their lack of technical skills. The author, an older Millennial, points out that their generation had the opportunity to learn by dismantling and reassembling devices, fostering a hands-on approach to technology. In contrast, Gen-Z may not have had the same experiences, leading to a potential gap in technical proficiency.

Age should not be used as an excuse for technological illiteracy. Laziness and stubbornness often overshadow the real reasons behind resistance to technology. By fostering patience, empathy, and providing the right support, we can help older individuals overcome their technological challenges and embrace the benefits of the digital age.

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