EDITORIALS: Which one are you?

In these unprecedented times of isolation, quarantines and social separation, it is crucial to have some skills with technology. You need to be your own information manager. 

If you do not have electronic/technological skills, get some. If you don’t have the necessary electronic devices, ask around. There are sources for you to obtain some basic devices.

Why are so many older adults reluctant to develop their technological skills?

Blind ignorance
Some older adults don’t have even basic skills in using technology. Worse, they don’t want to develop these skills to their great loss. They lack being educated about the great potential of the Internet, how to use it and to safeguard themselves with its use and so never participate from the start. And they do not know what they are missing. They are unaware of the great benefits to be gained from what technology offers. They lack the simplest tech skills that would allow them to do: banking, real news, entertainment beyond the TV, online shopping, ordering deliveries, safe association with family, friends and other people. The phone was invented in 1876. Some older adults are still using that phone!

Embarrassment
Some older adults lack fundamental electronic skills and are embarrassed to admit it. There is no shame in not knowing something. There is shame in not being willing to learn.

Learning takes effort, determination and practice. Sometimes learning is really challenging. Not all adults 55+ are life long learners. Each has the right to remain stationary and stagnant in their personal growth, development and learning. Others such as teachers see value in continuous learning and the doors which it opens. But some still rotary dial the phone number.

Need
Need is related to ignorance, Some non-users of technology discouragingly declare they have no need for the Internet. They isolate themselves from social involvement as we all must during this COVID epidemic….no one wants to expose themselves to the risks of contact but technological isolation has more serious consequences detrimental to the entire community. Each of us has knowledge and experience that can benefit others. The benefits cannot be shared in hibernation and isolation. Unshared information costs all of us, dearly.

Learning and using technology is a challenging task. Developing these skills takes effort and patience, motivation and perseverance. The potential gains make it worthwhile.

There are risks. There are flaws. There are dangers. The learned user of technology develops safeguards to defend themselves. More importantly, however, that learner returns to their community as a greater member, an active citizen once again. COVID-19 be damned.

Also read “I sat on a park bench today….”

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