This Woman’s Observation Of Older People With Smartphones Is Amazing

February 4, 2016

Have you ever had to show your parents how to use a smartphone?

Are you tired of them pronouncing WhatsApp as “What’s up” or “Wazzap”?

Or the worst, getting continous spam messages from them.

Ugh!

This woman made observations on a group of older people with smartphones and his findings will change your views.

https://twitter.com/npueu/status/667358228095700992

It’s a steep learning curve. Everything is new and alien. Very little is instinctive. Past experience is often useless, often a hindrance.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

It’s not just about learning what button does what, but also learning to reconcile with the idea of a button itself.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

The whys are not very obvious even though the whats and hows are explained by the next generation.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

That the phone can be an ally in many ways is itself up for learning.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Overall, using this piece of technology pretty much feels like getting thrown into the deep end with a strange device as life raft.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

So small things become accomplishments. Good morning messages, for example.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Such rituals become comforting as well. And they serve as an incentive and a platform of validation.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

My aunt uses her meagre data connection to painstakingly search for and download dozens of good morning images every week.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

These she sends one at a time everyday to her alumni group on WhatsApp.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

She has not heard of memes. She does not consider that if she can find these images freely on the web, the recipients can as well.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

She does not consider it spam, for how can something that is chosen with intent and such care be spam?

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

The regularity of this greeting, not the greeting images themselves, is for her the message of affection that she is conveying.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Her alumni group is made up of people like her in the sense of the internet being a novelty. Everyone is learning and eager to show it.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

They have their own standards and bars of achievement, some of which we would laugh at if we didn’t know the context.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

All the elders I met today agreed that for them, timing mattered in their online interactions.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Releasing a video clip or image or joke or other message before the others was a huge achievement. They would compliment each other on that.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

So they ensured that if they received something impressive via one group, they’d circulate it in their other groups as soon as possible.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

“Everyone knows me as the joke guy,” boasted an old uncle. “And everyone in my groups appreciate my song links,” said an aunty, proud.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

There are reputations and expectations and an etiquette that emerges not from ours, but from their own dynamics.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

The smart phone interactions between our elders is a thriving ecosystem, with its own politics and compassions.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Even though a lot of the education about this enabling technology came from their children, these explorers are still very much self-made.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

There are things your kids just cannot communicate to you, and things they just cannot understand about you. So our seniors help each other.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

There’s hurt when kids tell them they are using the internet wrongly, that they miss the point. The point is that our points are different.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

We younger folks have moved on from grappling with the actual hows and are now fighting or laughing at older people on the whats.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

“This alert was not sent by NASA,” we fume, frustrated. “How can you believe something so obviously fake, ma?”

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Content is motivation for them, but their immediate challenges are feeling through all these complexities,

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

fitting into their WhatsApp communities, learning to keep up with the youngsters and discovering the potentials of this magical device.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

We know how to identify spam, respond to it, avoid it, discourage it. But remember (I do) when we ourselves first met the internet?

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

The incredible cognitive assault? That is our parents now, with more than double the age and less than half the exposure.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Just a few takeaways:

1. Most elders using technology usually want to learn and want to use it effectively. Don’t doubt that intention. — udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

2. Don’t expect their digital worlds to follow the etiquette of the ones you are familiar with.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

3. Be patient. Make learning easier for them. Help where your help is needed.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

(In many cases, the technology is so alien that it is tough for them to know what help they need. So, diagnose and offer clear, simple aid.)

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

4. Don’t patronise/condescend. It’s two human beings helping each other with what they’re each familiar with that the other isn’t.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Every time I get short with appa or amma, I remember the overall impression of my entire childhood,

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

which was of patient, affectionate care and guidance from my parents to my complete arrogance in and absolute ineptness at life. :’)

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

5. There’s no need to put up with factually incorrect posts and misguiding information. Or general spam.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Just help them see why it can be harmful and how they can ascertain veracity before they forward information. Empowerment works.

— udnan (@npueu) November 19, 2015

Such a heart-warming story that will make you rethink how you treat the older people around you!

Lesson of the day: Teaching people new things should be done with patience and without judgement. Especially those who have never had to deal directly with technology when they were younger.
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