Grandparents and mobile phones

Over the weekend my granddad dropped by my parent’s house with a problem. Now this happens more often than not – from issues tuning in his TV, to getting the free DVD from the Sunday paper to play. This time the problem was with the digital photo frame we had brought him for Christmas. Despite his best efforts he could not fathom where the USB key went on the frame, having tried every socket to no avail he resorted to asking my sister for help. Cue my sister removing the cover from the USB key and one slightly embarrassed grandparent.

Now stereotypically speaking the elderly and technology are not the best of friends, I’m sure you’ve all had to explain something similar to an elderly friend or relative, and the Christmas I was nominated to explain to (the same) grandparent how to operate his new mobile was, to say the least, a test of patience.

At EML we deal with the cutting edge of technology, from the latest wireless devices to the chips they are made on – but in 50 years time am I going to be any better at operating (what is to me) a simple consumer product like a mobile? Back in my granddad’s youth I’m sure he was fully capable of working the latest technology much to the bewilderment of his grandparents. Now of course I grew up with computers and similar technology, but I honestly believe that in my old age I will be just as clueless, and will have equally exasperated grandchildren explaining what is to them, the most simple of technological tasks.

Now oddly I’m quite looking forward to this. What say you? Do you think that you’ll always be tech-savvy? Or will it eventually overtake you?


2 Responses to Grandparents and mobile phones

  1. David says:

    Well, yes and no. I have to say that my soon to be 67 year old Mum (happy birthday Mum!) often surprises me when it comes to technology. She’ll suddenly turn up on MSN messenger; or we’ll suddenly discover she’s installed her own antivirus software; or send me an MMS. She even managed to buy and to install a new printer this year and she appears to be capable of using Photoshop to remove red eyes from photos of my nephew and niece. I put it down to having a lot of time on her retired hands — not to forget the technical genius in the genes. Perhaps, unlike her son, she bothers to read the instruction manuals…..

  2. jolucy says:

    I have to say that my Grandma is a bit of a technical whizz. She was emailing before I was! She’s a very active lady, involved in all manner of charity work, so she uses email a lot. She also uses powerpoint, word, excel etc to help with the accounting and promotions/presentations she works on – and, to top it all off, she regularly uses Skype to speak to my Uncle in Dubai. My Mum, on the other hand, never needed to use a computer until fairly recently, so she struggles a bit with anything beyond word processing (and playing mah-jong constantly). I think it comes down to whether our parents and drandparents have the need/curiosity to figure new technology out and, of course, whether they have access. I’m hoping I take after my Grandma, rather than my Mum, but i fear that the yoof of tomorrow will use technology in a way that is totally alien to me. In fact, they already do -why on earth would anyone want to listen to a nasty, tinny version of a song they presumably like by playing it over their mobile phone? on a bus? and then talk over it anyway? sigh. now I’m off to have a cup of cocoa and wear some slippers and put a blanket on my knees…

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