01 Sep 2010
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Five Rules for Seniors and Technology

The new stuff is not just for the younger generation; technology is for everyone. The key to mastering technology is to start at the beginning and learn the basics. For example, being a master of files and folders on your computer will make you more efficient with almost everything you do. Once you have learnt the basics, don’t stop. Learn something new every day. Kids may claim to be the chosen experts and appear to be techo masters, but it’s an illusion. They have two things in their favour: • Very little fear of making a mistake – so kids are happy to experiment with technology and try new things• More than likely they didn’t pay for what they are experimenting with, so if it breaks it doesn’t matter! Rule 1: Experiment like a kid– learn something new every day. Unless you attack it in frustration with a hammer, it’s not likely to break! Never let a much younger person teach you how to use a computer, mobile phone, digital camera, the features of a new TV, or any technology for that matter! They do not have the patience required, they speak in geek and they really would rather be doing something else! Rule 2: Find someone of about your own age to teach you. Better still get along to a SeniorNet Learning Centres. (SeniorNet supports and motivates people aged 50+ to enjoy and use technology in their everyday lives – www.seniornet.co.nz) Technology allows age gaps to be bridged. Being able to communicate using modern techniques, such as being an effective TXTing will make you S1VS (someone very special) with your grandchildren. Or being able to create a digital photo collage or even a movie for a child’s birthday will put you and them on the same wavelength. Please don’t see this as pandering to the younger ones; it’s not! What it is, however is participating in the age in which we live – the Technology Age. Rule 3: Apply the skills you learn; incorporate them into your everyday life. Use it or lose it – no point learning new things if you don’t use them! Be open minded when new technology appears. Don’t simply say something like “Nah, I can’t see the point” or “I am happy with what I have got” (so say many ensconced in Windows 98 – good as it may have been). For sure be prudent; I am not an advocate for purchasing all and sundry as soon as it hits the shelves. But at least keep abreast with change and apply the ‘ABC’ test.• Is it Affordable? • Will it Be useful to me in my everyday life? • Can it work with the other technology I have, or will it be a lonely orphan? The point I am making is: don’t always wait until the price drops or for the next model (there will always be a next model). If you get positive answers to your ABC test then don’t muck about… get it! Rule 4: See it, like it, can afford it and it will be useful – buy it! As we get older time is running out! No point dithering! The impact the internet has had on our daily life is more than significant; it’s huge! Yet many are still using it for very basic, kindergarten purposes, like plain old emailing or just looking things up on Google. Then of course I meet people all the time who say dial-up internet service is “just fine for me”. Yes, broadband is more expensive, but it’s like having black and white telly when colour is being broadcast. Yes, I also know that good high-speed broadband is not available to some, but, if it’s available where you live and work, broadband internet service is what you need to be connected to . Rule 5: Extend your use of internet; it will save you time and money on purchases, broaden your horizons and allow you to integrate other technologies in your home. Broadband is best. If it’s available, get it, no hesitation! If you can give yourself a tick to all five rules you can consider yourself up there and onto it! If you can’t, then you are likely to be missing out and not really grabbing the opportunities that the Technology Age is presenting to ALL of us!

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