Friday, 28 November 2014

Old folk and computers

I have been doing nanowrimo this month and so have been a bit tied up. I am pleased to announnce that today I have completed the challenge and 'won'. I have written a 50000 word novel in a month.

One thing that I have been getting increasingly irritated about is the assumption that older people can' cope with technology in general and computers in particular. I am 70 years old and use a computer daily. My friends, too, all use computers with relative ease. I am not saying that they could fix problems if they arose, but they are completely competant in using the software.

Computers have been around for a long time. It has been possible to buy 'micro-computer' as they were called since the late 1970s.  In the 1980s the home computer became more common with things like the Spectrum, Amstrad and Amiga. OK, not many people had home computers, but they were becoming more common in work and schools were starting to teach 'computer studies' ,which incidentally was much more all-embracing than the ICT taught in schools today. It included writing simple programs, learning about the current uses, including bar codes, and writing a dissertation on computers. One of my pupils wrote a very interesting piece on the use of computers in music. This was just as popular music was beginning to use the synthesiser. He also wrote about how it was used in classical music.

So since computers have been with us for 40+ years, why is there still this idea that older people can't use them?  It would mean that people in their 30s in the 80s were incapable of learning new things!

So please stop assuming that because we are over 65 we know nothing. My friends and I are on Skype, Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in. We can all use emails and even use our computers to store our digital photos. Perhaps we can't fix everything that might go wrong with our computers, but we aren't complete idiots.

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