The struggle with technology is a subject dear to my heart. People tell me about their frustrations and the reasons they don’t want to use it.
Often it’s a lack of understanding of how it works and, when it doesn’t work the way it’s meant to, immediately thinking it’s something we have done wrong or that we’ve broken it.
It brings out the worst in us –hidden insecurities, frustrations, second guessing or even throwing up our hands in exhaustion.
Believe me, I have heard it all.
The purpose of this article is to offer a brief explanation for some of the most common questions and statements that we hear.
Why did it do that?
Generally, we have heard this same question many times. Often, the problem is to do with an update issue that corrupted another piece of software, or one device won’t talk to another because Microsoft hasn’t communicated with Epson or HP hasn’t checked with Canon. Sometimes hardware fails due to poor manufacturing or worn-out components.
Then there are some issues where there is no obvious technical reason for the error and no matter what your technical skill, you probably won’t get to the bottom of it.
Was it me?
Granted many of our calls may be put down to “user error” and these require some gentle guidance and written instructions. If it is you, don’t worry because 90 per cent of users are in the same boat.
There is a misconception that because you’re over 60 you don’t know what you’re doing, but neither do most of the younger ones. They just won’t admit it. It is common for me to receive many phone calls on a Monday morning from clients whose kids and grandkids visited on the weekend and made their computer problem worse. A word to the wise, don’t let anyone else try and fix your computer problem for free, it generally ends poorly.
I’m just too old to use it
Doris, one of my oldest clients – she’s 97 – has a Windows 10 computer she uses to track her family tree, an iPad for listening to classical music through YouTube and a Samsung smart phone for texting, email and using google maps to direct her taxi driver.
Ron is 95, blind and partially deaf and uses his Windows 10 computer to play his favourite music playlist and his Samsung phone to talk to his kids every day. You are never too old, and granted, it can be frustrating – learning anything new is frustrating – but with persistence and patience it will reward you in many other ways.
I don’t see why I should use it
This comment is like standing on the beach and pushing back the tide with your hands. The wave of technology is here to stay and despite your best efforts to resist it, it is fast becoming the norm for most means of communication, including major retailers, banks, energy companies and telecommunications providers.
I have seen those who have decided to shun technology to their detriment. In the long term, they talk to friends and family less and become more isolated. As they become frail, they find it more difficult to perform daily chores such as paying bills by cheque at the post office or shopping.
I don’t know where to start
There are many resources to access, from local community groups to library courses and even online videos. We have many clients we tutor in their home. They keep a little note pad of questions to ask, and when they get to the end of the page, they call us for an appointment.
We then go step by step through the list and help them with their learning and even leave them with homework. The key is persistence; the way to learn is to practise every day, even for just 30 minutes a day. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but give yourself time to make mistakes and continue to practise.
No one ever jumped into a car and drove perfectly the first time and technology is no different.
You may never like using it, but it will enhance your life in subtle ways, like keeping you connected to friends and family and helping with simple chores in daily life as you grow older.
Email Nathan Wellington at info@home techassist.com.au or call 1300 682 817.