Is There a Digital Divide Among Seniors?

seniors and tech border

Adult children who want to help their aging parents learn to use more technology may want to read the April 2014 Pew Internet organization report, Older Adults and Technology Use.

This fascinating document, freely available online, describes various groups of technology-using seniors and explains how they use or do not use computers and devices. It also offers some reasons why older seniors, especially, slow down in their use of computers and digital devices as they age.

What’s interesting to me is that less of a digital divide exists between seniors and the rest of the younger adult population, and more of a digital divide exists between higher and lower-income seniors. Also the researchers found that after age 75 technology use tends to drop off significantly for many elders.

Most Interesting Findings                Continue reading

Wireless: A Primer for the Rest of Us (Including Aging Parents)

When we install wireless access in our homes or in the home of aging parents, it’s common for most of us to use it intensively while understanding few of the details about the  equipment and how various components work. We usually know when it’s not working, but that’s about it.

wireless components MakeUseOf

Check out the article at the makeuseof site.

Bottom line?  We should all learn a bit more about our home wireless systems, which by he way, probably work in our yards as well as inside the house.

The MakeUseOf website has just published an excellent wireless primer to help digital novices understand just how these powerful networking systems work in our homes and in the homes of our aging parents. Make some time to read it over  — it’s lifelong learning at it’s best.

If knowledge is power, the knowledge of the networking tools that connect your digital devices to the rest of the world is powerful indeed.

Whose Eyes Are Checking Out That Digital Content?

In his recent post over at the Changing Aging blog, Kavan Peterson describes a short video, Forwarders. Intended as a parody of people who continuously forward e-mail, the video reinforces stereotypes about elders and aging. It’s sad that this short film focuses solely on one older adult, especially since so many people of all ages are extreme (and irritating) forwarders.

While it’s intended to be funny, the video’s other message is that old people with wrinkles are silly and inept — at least that’s my interpretation. I’ll bet that the video producer — I am guessing an adolescent or young adult — probably cherishes a fair number of lifelong relationships with elders. This parody promotes a stereotype that could have been alleviated simply by adding in a few younger characters who also need reforming. (I posit a guess about the creator/producer’s age after looking over other published web content.)

The video and others like it also raise a question. How do we help individuals who are Internet content “whizzes” to understand that everything uploaded is subject to interpretation?

generational tutorialsAs a teacher who concentrates on educational technology, I frequently hear the refrain, “But I did not mean to hurt that person,” usually after a student has created and uploaded what he or she considered to be amusing content. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, and sometimes various readers or viewers interpret the message differently. What my students slowly learn is that digital content may be funny to one person, not funny to another, and for some individuals downright insulting.

In today’s connected society digital natives — born into a world of computers, cell phones, and various other gadgets — find it easy to create content, but sometimes they forget that what they do and say (and upload) circulates far and wide. Different people will watch and may reach different conclusions about the work. One person’s joke can unintentionally malign others. Humor that is appropriate for a person at one age is not so funny when it’s uploaded into the world at large for everyone to see. Digital natives need to learn and respect the ways that different people view the world through slightly different lenses. Most professional writers of parody think long and hard about every detail of a project, interchanging those lenses as they create.

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iPad for Dad, #21: An Easy-to-Use Speaker

My dad loves to listen to music, mostly classical, but other musical genres as well. Mostly he fires up his stereo, a boom-box, or the local classical music radio station.

Now, he has a third option — listening with his iPad.

For Christmas we gave Dad the iHome rechargeable portable speaker for iPad. The iPad itself simply sits in the doc, the same way it sits on Dad’s keyboard dock. While the iHome sound isn’t quite at the quality of his stereo speakers, it’s good.

We downloaded the TuneIn RadioPro app which streams all types of music and programming from hundreds of radio stations. I preset seven or eight classical and jazz music stations as well as a baseball channel and a few talk shows. All dad has to do it touch the preset buttons.

If he wants to do more with TuneInRadio, and I expect he will, we can do more instruction later.

If you like this post, read some of the other descriptions of our Father/Daughter iPad for Dad adventures — iPad for Dad, #1iPad for Dad, #2iPad for Dad, #3,  iPad for Dad, #4iPad for Dad, #5iPad for Dad, #6,  iPad for Dad, #7iPad for Dad, #8,  iPad for Dad, #9iPad for Dad, #10iPad for Dad, #11iPad for Dad, #12iPad for Dad, #13,  iPad for Dad, #14,  iPad for Dad, #15iPad for Dad, #16,  iPad for Dad, #17 , iPad for Dad, #18,  iPad for Dad, #19iPad for Dad, #20iPad for Dad, #21 and iPad for Dad, # 22.

iPad for Dad, #20: Battery Life

Dad continues to write on his iPad.

If you are still thinking about purchasing an iPad, either for yourself or for a senior parent, read the excellent, and very entertaining, iPad battery tribute over at Paul’s iPad blog. iPad batteries last a long time. Even when a person is working on heavy-duty projects, charging on a daily basis is rarely required.

Best Quote from Paul’s Post

How good is the battery? You find yourself doing funny things when you buy an iPad. I noticed this on day two of my iPad journey where I took her on an obligatory trip to Starbucks when I found myself doing something funny … I stopped looking for the seat next to a plug, I looked for the comfy chair.

My dad continues to write away on his iPad, and rarely does he need to think about the battery. Total convenience! And I have the same experience with mine.

If you like this post, read some of the other descriptions of our Father/Daughter iPad for Dad adventures – iPad for Dad, #1iPad for Dad, #2iPad for Dad, #3,  iPad for Dad, #4iPad for Dad, #5iPad for Dad, #6,  iPad for Dad, #7iPad for Dad, #8,  iPad for Dad, #9iPad for Dad, #10iPad for Dad, #11iPad for Dad, #12iPad for Dad, #13,  iPad for Dad, #14,  iPad for Dad, #15iPad for Dad, #16,  iPad for Dad, #17 , iPad for Dad, #18,  iPad for Dad, #19iPad for Dad, #20iPad for Dad, #21 and iPad for Dad, # 22.

Things We Take for Granted Used to be New!

A humorous, but pithy reminder for everyone — adults, adult children, and seniors —  everything we routinely use and take for granted was new at one time or another.  The video is a Norwegian Broadcasting Network comedy presentation. Enjoy!