As an over 50 woman, I have seen so many changes in how we function daily in our world. Almost anything you need or want to do can be done digitally these days. This means we over 50’s must maintain a level of digital literacy.
Everyday I use technology and for the most part, I love it! As a person who once feared being lost, now GPS directions give me the freedom to go anywhere I desire with confidence. I enjoy ease of communication with family and friends by texting and emails. And I can order anything I can imagine “online”. Thank you “Amazon“!
The benefits of today’s technology are endless. There is just one little “catch 22” to all this techie stuff – constant change and updates. It seems like every time I feel that I have mastered a product or program, here comes an update! Updates are great, however, they often force us into hardware changes too (i.e. new computers, tablets, phones and TVs.) And with every new item comes the “set up”! The “set up” is where digital literacy becomes important.
In 2022 I have had to upgrade 4 devices. That’s almost enough to make a person loose their mind! LOLOL First, my desktop computer became really slow and could no longer support the latest operating software. UGH!!! This was a death sentence for the desktop!
Fortunately, I had already purchased a laptop and set it up with all the same functions and apps. I simply made sure my pics and documents were backed up by a third party and began using my laptop solely.
Next, my “hand-me-down” iPad could no longer support several apps that I use frequently, so I purchased a new one. Since I had only recently set up my laptop, setting up the iPad was fairly easy. Let me just say that I really enjoy the speed of my new device.
On our last cabin visit, Robby and I decided to replace the very old TV we inherited with a “smart tv”. I’ll give you one guess who set everything up on the TV – ME!!!! While I have no tech training, setting stuff up in our household is my plight. I think it’s because I’m the only one who will read the instructions! Once again, since I had only recently set up my laptop and iPad, the TV was a breeze! By the way the picture is fantastic!
The oldest device in my use was my cell phone. While my carrier had been offering me an “upgrade” for at least 2 years, I ignored their offers and continued using my trusty cell phone. If I am being honest, I just wanted to avoid the whole “setting it up” process. I had so many apps and contacts to transfer that I feared something would go wrong.
And there you have it – fear! Fear of change, messing it up, what if I can’t do it – these were the thoughts running through my head each time I thought of “upgrading”. Well, as fate or better yet, the big tech industry would have it, my phone finally began having problems. It just couldn’t keep up with the latest app updates. Hmmm, seems to be a running theme!
So, I had to take the plunge and upgrade my phone. Believe it or not, I chose to order the new phone online and do the transfer of data and set up myself. It took me about an hour and a half to get it done and I did have to watch one YouTube video to complete the process. But….I did it. The phone was probably the most difficult to set up but I prevailed and now enjoy a faster better working cellphone!
The Moral of the Story
You may be wondering what the moral of the story is. Well, here it is: As women over 50 in today’s world, we must maintain some level of digital literacy. As I was “setting up” my phone, I had a revelation about my mother. She hated technology. She never used an ATM machine. She only briefly used a “dial-up” computer back in the early 2000’s. And she would only use a “flip phone” with numbers she could push.
I used to get angry at my mother’s refusal to try any of the new technology. There were so may benefits such as video chatting and banking online that could have made her world so much easier. However, I have since realized that what I once saw as “stubbornness” was really fear and lack of exposure. The world had changed so quickly that she was simply in unfamiliar territory.
Ways to Learn
There are many ways to maintain digital literacy. The simplest way is to simply USE IT! One of the reasons my children and grandchildren easily use technology is because they use it frequently. The grands can work a “remote control” like nobody’s business. Also, I found silly pics from them on my phone recently- which means they had by-passed the “lock code”. They aren’t afraid of messing it up because they know you just exit out and start over. They have so much exposure to technology, that they aren’t afraid of it.
Another way to “up” your tech game is by taking free online courses. I have taken so many classes online to learn how to use a particular kind of software or program. Many software companies and apps offer free tutorial courses when you set up your account. Always take advantage of these “freebies”!
And my favorite “quick” method of learning is by watching a YouTube video. If you need to know how to do something and need a “visual”, then YouTube is the answer. Seems quite a lot of people offer free tutorials and “how-to’s” on just about any topic you can think of.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your kids and/or grands would be happy to show off their “skills” and help you set up a device or try a new program. Sometimes all you need is someone there to encourage you. I also have friends who are younger than me that are always willing to share their knowledge. It’s a “win-win”! They get my life experience and I get access to their life/digital skills! LOL
Technology isn’t going anywhere and in fact, I expect that we will use it more and more in the coming years. While I don’t think it necessary to know how to program a computer, I do believe that maintaining a current level of digital literacy is vital.
You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you absolutely can teach women over 50 how to “rock” this digital world we live in. So next time you need an “upgrade”, don’t be afraid, dive right in with confidence that you can do it! Oh yeah, if you do need a little help, just call someone’s grand kids – they’ll know how to fix it!