Long gone are the days when people used to associate tags like ‘TECHIE’, ‘GADGETS’, ‘GIZMO’ to geeks-those people sitting at a corner, lost in their digital cave and laughing at all other ignorant and simple-minded beings. Technology is now no less than a necessity. Food, clothing, place to live, and yup you guessed it right, TECHNOLOGY and age is no excuse to not be involved in it. Instead, if we consider the bulk of common sense and experience pent up inside someone elder to us,it seems almost nonsensical not to let them take a dive into the beautiful world of technology. Of course, the first dip would be cold, sending shivers down the spine, but whats an experience without an EXPERIENCE! Only imagination is the true limit while meddling with technology, which with its wings would help the elderly to fly towards a new domain-a domain with more luxuries (and time to slack!). That’s the spirit! I can see the burning will of fire inside your heart, but of course with a pinch of doubt. If questions like, ‘Where can I start?’ or ‘My grandpa is too stubborn and rude. Any tips?’ haunt your mind, then worry not. The following list would get your lovely grandma up on the tech train, with grandpa hanging onto the ledges, before you could say T-E-C-H-N-O-L-O-G-Y.
10. Start small
Everybody knows you are a digital guru pawning all those other guys from the class, while impressing the chicks. But its not about you. Its about someone you care. So don’t go all blitzkrieg with tablets and PDAs and all those chip-ram gibberish. Let their first step towards technology be a baby step. Start with a down-to-ground smartphone. Ravage the shops until you find one with large font, bright display, sensitive touch and a good speaker. As they get habituated, you can start introducing more gadgets, and before you know it, they would have surpassed you.
9. Don’t Tease
Feelings are something that grow strong with age. So a cackle stab at one of your friend is passable, but not your grandparents. It would demoralize them and probably get them pissed off too. Everybody is tensed and have their own frustrations to deal with. This definitely does not mean you are allowed to take some steam off someone who are trying to learn something for you. When you are with them, you are just a teacher. So act like one and teach them with all the patience in the world. They didn’t take a hit at you when you were making mistakes. Besides, never ever dare to forget that they are, ultimately, elder to you.
8. Group Sessions
The first day of summer camp. All those strangers staring at you like you are the new clown, ready for entertainment sessions. Then you find a familiar face. An old friend or one your friend’s accomplice. You two get along and things go rather smoothly than your expectations. Grandpa might be a bit shy while exploring the unknown ‘Technical’ nether region, but pull in a friend and voila! Talks are ensured, along with learning, and who knows you might just discover a side of your old man you never saw.
7. Pandora’s Box
Tell them about the power of the small device, that they until now called nuisance block(yeah smaller version of nuisance box), and let their eyes roll back in amazement. Sometimes all it takes is an interactive demo. Once they realize that there’s so much more to the gadget than just being a thing of the age. Tasks like meetings, reunions or even a visit to the park would be a lot better with the power of technology.
6.All that glitters, might not be gold, but still attracts you
Don’t just go into the specifications. 5″ screen, 2.3 GHz processor, Nvidia graphics processor, this and that..blah blah blah. Chocolate owners would have never even sold a single toffee if they started talking about the carbohydrates and protein content. People, irrespective of how old they grow, are child at heart. They get fascinated. They have their own fantasy world. So instead of just plain blabbering, try to impress that little child.
Helping does not mean forcing yourself on somebody. People have their own pace of learning and concentration span. They have their own interest hierarchy and their own work to complete. Just cause you are being a good soul, doesn’t necessarily mean they must do whatever you say. If they say that its enough for today, then simply thank them for allowing you to share something and compliment them. This would ensure that their eagerness to learn doesn’t dry out.
4.Keep them updated
Next time a product catches your eye, don’t just keep it to yourself(that would be plain selfish). Share the new information with your new techie friend that you recently made. A new phone launch-tell them. Decrease in price of laptops-tell them. A new PDA to be launched-tell them. Its as simple as that. The more you involve them in your circle, the faster they learn. Our mind is like a sword, whose sharpness is expressed in terms of the memories we store. If left alone it starts getting dull and finally loses its sharpness altogether. So keep their tech-edge polished by keeping them updated.
3. Gadget gift
Instead of the regular, boring sweater and muffler, go a step beyond and grab a mobile or a desktop or even a laptop for your dear grandma and grandpa. Believe me, they already have scores of those woolen vines in their closet. Not only will they appreciate your effort, but also as a gift they would learn to respect technology. And who knows, if it could set a chain reaction that could very well end as an iPhone 5s in your hands.
2. Don’t ignore their questions
When you teach someone, something new, tons and tons of questions burden their head. Why did this happen? How can I use it? Is it safe? Its basic human instinct to ask questions. Never ever try to ignore them, because for them you are the knowledgeable one. If you don’t answer them, they would probably keep it to themselves and as things advance they would completely lose interest in it.
It might seem weird and you would probably use cuss words against me, but the reality is that behind their inability and fear of technology, you are at fault too. ‘Its easy. You are not trying.’ ‘Oh common! How hard could that be?’ ‘I don’t have time for this. Please do it yourself.’ If these statements sound familiar, then you are doing things the wrong way. Don’t treat them like losers. Don’t forget that they are the ones who made you, what you are today. They never gave up on you. So its your time to stand up for them. Encourage them and then you will be able to see how good they can be.