In my last blog post I wrote about digital divide and this conversation with my grandma got me to thinking about the social exclusion of older people, who don’t know how to use a computer. And besides that I have been working in Statistical office of the Republic of Slovenia where we’ve just finished a telephone survey about the use of communication- informational technologies in Slovenian households. I worked as a telephone interviewer, so I spoke to many people, who answered questions about their use of computers and internet. It was very hard to convince older people to participate in our survey because when they heard that it is about computers and internet, they immediately refused with excuse that they are too old for and that they don’t know anything about these new technologies. But on the other hand, there were some older people who learned how to use computers and internet by taking classes, organized specifically for older generations. They often told me that they decided to take such classes because in modern times, you just cannot afford to not know how to use internet if you don’t want to be excluded from numerous activities.
It really seems that technological exclusion of older people is quite a problem, because it also means that they are socially excluded from society. For younger generations it feels almost natural to have a computer and know how to use it, because we ether grew up with computers and mobile phones and internet, or got in touch with these new technologies at very young age. But older generations on the other hand were already grown up, used to certain way of life and the suddenly those new technologies emerged and changed everyday life. So we should really consider their difficulties with accepting these technologies and their efforts to try to follow the developments and even encourage them to try it and comfort them that they are never too old to learn new things and get new experiences.
So let’s held our grandma’s and grandpa’s to get online if they want to! :)