A Digital Obstacle Course: 6 Barriers Barring Senior Citizens From Using Technology
As new technology continues to flourish in the 21st century, the learning curve is becoming increasingly steep, especially for seniors who have just begun understanding basic phone and computer operations. While upgraded smartphone features and custom-built processor setups may excite younger generations, complex functions can leave older folks frustrated and confused.
To combat information gaps and ease older generations into the digital age, tech companies have started implementing senior-friendly products equipped with accessibility features like text magnification and easy-to-use menus. However, despite recent technological innovations like The Wow Computer, many senior citizens must clear technical hurdles to capitalize on the benefits of high-tech gadgets.
Despite the digital challenges faced by seniors today, acclimating to modern technology can vastly improve their quality of life through connectivity capabilities, emergency services, and built-in mental stimulants. That said, older generations will need to scale the following digital barriers currently holding some back from using modern tech.
Physical disabilities and ailments are common threads amongst many seniors wary of modern technology, as some impediments make it difficult to use certain gadgets. For example, many older folks have visual impairments that make it difficult to see small cell phone or computer text. Others may have arthritis-ridden joints, which can flare up with consistent keyboard or smartphone use.
To ensure constant tech usage doesn't aggravate age-induced aches and pains, seniors should participate in hand and joint exercises to reduce painful buildups and switch on accessibility features to dodge eye-straining.
Alongside technological advances, online innovations have skyrocketed in the last two decades, with many flocking digital spaces for entertainment, social opportunities, and general information. However, many seniors feel overwhelmed while attempting to navigate the internet, especially with threats looming around every corner. Unfortunately, elderly folks are more prone to online attacks, with many falling victim to phishing scams, malware infiltrations, and information leaks due to a lack of understanding and knowledge.
Another reason some seniors remain techno-phobic is due to significant information gaps caused by the large influx of technology during the early 21st century. Younger generations grew up alongside digital spaces and gadgets, enabling them to learn and acclimate to new and improved innovations, whereas older folks had to catch on later in life. Because of this technological gap, many older adults are opposed to new technologies and push back against advancements.
In addition to frustrating information gaps, fast-paced technological and digital changes have left many older adults in the dust, scrambling to catch up as high-tech gadgets and complex updates drop rapidly. As a result, seniors often feel skeptical towards digital developments, especially those struggling to grasp basic computer and phone usage. Ultimately, accelerated advancements leave many feeling anxious and self-conscious due to their lack of understanding and technical talent.
Skeptical of social media
Unfortunately, many older adults have negative connotations towards social media due to a lack of understanding and genuine concern for younger generations. While there are benefits to online social spaces, like connectivity and community, there are also harmful aspects attributed to overuse, like connections to brain disorders and a lack of in-person activity.
That said, with regulations and restrictions, social media can be an excellent way to interact with distant friends and engage with a wide variety of information. Still, many seniors fall victim to widespread misconceptions causing them to reject social media services altogether.
Although modern technology has undeniable benefits, many seniors are still hung up on digital blockades, leaving them feeling nervous, frustrated, and confused. Between online security threats, rapid updates, and confusing features, it's no wonder some older adults swear off technology completely. However, with the help of senior-friendly devices, knowledgeable loved ones, and a willingness to learn, elderly folks can take advantage of modern digital advances.