Friday, 7 December 2012

IT: The Generation Gap

by Jemima Carter

Computer technology is creating a generational divide

I am no Bill Gates. I can handle the internet, Word, PowerPoint and the like, and I am familiar with the optimum method of fixing a frozen computer (pull out the plug out and come back in a few hours- if still no luck a few whacks normally do the trick), but nothing more. However, my technological illiteracy pales into insignificance when you take a look at my parents.

Parents can find computer technology a challenge
My mother, despite apparently getting an A for her computer studies O-Level, can scarcely turn the machine on, and, if she manages that, then it’s only a few minutes before any person under twenty lurking around is hauled in to teach her how to make her spammed-up emails function properly or download the holiday pictures or some other such task. My dad is usually better at these sorts of thing, but he was pretty stumped when his Skype started ringing ten times a night with messages from dozens of overly-friendly “Asian singles in his area”. After messing around for a few minutes, the problem was solved (by a helpful, lurking under-twenty) and the lovely ladies were sent back whence they came, but it got me thinking about the division that technology has created between the generations.

Although it has only been around, as we know it now, for twenty years, the internet has completely revolutionised the entire civilised world. However, the speed at which this revolution occurred has, in effect, alienated large groups of society. Most of what my mum was taught for her O-Level is now completely invalid and since she doesn’t come into that much contact with computers at her work she, and many others in her situation, can be pretty clueless when it comes to the new technology that is emerging all the time and the generation above are even more so.

I guess that what I’m trying to say is that although it might be exasperating being constantly dragged in to the study to sort out on problem or another, it is important to remember just how different technology is now from when the ‘rents were growing up, so maybe we should cut them a little slack…

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