In Baby Boomers’ Defense: Adapting to New Technologies

new technologies, old man, cellphone, boomers, hard of sight

In this installment of “In Baby Boomers’ Defense”, we discuss why some baby boomers struggle with adapting to new technologies, particularly the cellphone.

  • Lack of familiarity with technology due to not growing up with the same level of technology as younger generations.
  • Changes in technology have occurred rapidly, making it difficult for some to keep up with the latest innovations.
  • Reluctance to adapt to new technology due to feeling intimidated or being used to a certain way of doing things.

Today, we are talking about why our parents struggle with adapting to new technologies. To this day, my dad barely knows how to operate his phone and he’s had that thing since the mid-2000s.

Honey! I Lost the Dial Pad Again!

It is important to note that not ALL boomers equate operating a cellphone with rocket science. That said, there are several reasons why our parents.

Lack of Familiarity

While they have certainly witnessed a tremendous amount of technological change throughout their lifetimes, they did not grow up with the same level of technology that younger generations did. When my dad got his degree in what-would-now-be computer science, a computer was a room: the ENIAC.

Changes in Technology

The cellphone was slow to develop. The first one was in 1973, the Motorola DynaTAC by Motorola. And then it took ten years to make it commercially available for the 1983 equivalent of a little over $12,000! And then six years to get the first flip phone. Three years later, the smartphone. And as time goes on, the interval between innovations shortens. Would you have been able to keep up?

Reluctance to Adapt

The reluctance to adapt to new technology, especially the cellphone, is the main point of contention. It can stem from a variety of reasons. If someone is used to a certain way of doing things, it can be challenging and even overwhelming to switch to a new system or device. Some people may also feel intimidated by new technology, particularly if they are not tech-savvy or do not have experience using similar devices. My dad used to travel often for work, and even after online messaging apps became a thing, he refused to learn how to operate them. And to this day, he’ll tell Mom to call and text us because he just won’t learn how to navigate the interface.

Final Thoughts

We may joke a lot about how our parents can’t adapt to technology, but we keep forgetting that we are not as prolific and tech-savvy as those younger than us either. They try to keep up, but considering how fast-paced the cellphone evolves, I’d give up too if I had to learn everything at an age I’m supposed to just retire and take care of my tomatoes.

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