“But I don’t want anyone to see me looking like this!”

The psychology behind techno phobia

As  boomers share their “quarentinis” with friends on Face Time, work continues via Zoom, and Millennials Instagram selfies of their workouts at home, younger generations plead with their older relatives to get online and video chat. Even the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines ask younger generations to use social media, phones and videos to support older Americans.

But have you tried? Are you frustrated? Is your parent annoyed and frustrated, too. “I’m just a Luddite – i don’t know how to work this thing.”


Do not blame your elders!!! Have you seen that hysterical YouTube viddeo where 17- year old students cannot figure out how to work a rotary phone! 160,000 people watched this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHNEzndgiFI

Those of us who have been riding on the information highway for years have accumulated vocabulary, instincts and habits that inform our intuition  — we instinctively know to touch the top of the screen to find hidden buttons, and such.  But those who were retired  in the 90’s or were not in a situation to have or need the Internet have built up resistance and work-arounds. Others have devices but use them for very limited purposes. “Just call me on the phone, darling; you don’t need  to see my face to know I love you.” One woman in a GoL focus group said “Just put the check in the mail and the grand kids will you call you.” Another was fiercely against learning: “If they get me on this thing [computer] they’ll never come to visit!”.

But then came the Spring of 2020 forced isolation.  Now, everyone is motivated and it’s hard to teach long distance. The younger troops are worried. The grandparents are tired of their nagging. And embarrassed and confused about the technology, even if it means seeing the family.

Perhaps these sound familiar – and perhaps the responses may deflect them.

  1. “It’s too complicated and I’m too old to learn”

You build brain cells by trying!

2. “Let’s just talk on the phone – I’m a mess anyway.”

The camera spins in two directions. Show me the empty street out your window.

3.  “I just have an e-reader. and we don’t have WiFi or whatever.”

Do you have a smartphone?

4.  I can’t remember my password.

You wont need a password.

(Or if you do, start over. Hit can’t remember password and create a new one! write it down. You’ll  be surprised how well you do!) Older adults frequently underestimate the power of their own memories, leading to some bad habits that fail to make the best use of their minds, says Dayna Touron at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Eventually, that lack of confidence may become a self-fulfilling prophecy – as your memory skills slowly decline through lack of use. However, she has found that simply giving the older adults feedback on their performance – and underlining the accuracy of their memory – can encourage them to rely more on their recall, as reported by the BBC.

Of course I’d like everyone to somehow get their parents on to our simplified training app to give them skills and confidence without your help.

Easy Tablet Help For Seniors in Apple App store

Easy Tablet Help For Seniors in Google Play store

(www.generationsonline.org/gol4ipador 4 android.)

But the real point is, to help get your elders online, first get inside their heads, before you try to get inside their space! As with most things, winning the psychological battle often ends the war. And in this war on the Pandemic, we wish you luck and ease to safe, healthy times for you and yours.