Everyone is getting more tech-savvy (in self-isolation)

by | May 3, 2020

seniors using tech

We’ve all been locked away in our homes since the end of March. Yet we continue to remain in touch with friends, relatives and colleagues at work. I am seeing more folks embracing technology and learning to do stuff that they did not dare to dabble with before. Aunts, Uncles, Grandpas, and Grandmas now utter words like “download,” “Zoom,” “Router,” “Hotspot,” “Mbps,” etc. without battering their eyelids. It’s part of their everyday vocabulary. They can download applications on their laptops and set these up (maybe with a bit of help from the next generation). But technology has become a way of life for all of us, and the Internet is the hub.

Those celebrating their birthdays in self-isolation are coming up with novel ways to celebrate: Zoom parties, pre-recorded (and edited) video greetings, virtual cake cutting… I was speaking to a cousin who celebrated her birthday on May 1. Her close relatives living in France, Australia, New Zealand, and Dubai surprised her with a Zoom birthday party. Her daughter in France came up with the idea of a “virtual boarding pass” — with a seat number — that “took” her to a few countries on her birthday. I do not recollect which app she used, but I thought this was really creative.

School teachers are being asked to get familiar with Zoom and to install Microsoft Teams on their laptops. And those who give home tuitions are using Zoom for one-on-one instructions. I know of a music teacher in our neighbourhood who has found a way to provide virtual classes. He emails the chords to his students and asks them to record what they are playing — and send the audio file back to him via WhatsApp. Then he listens to their renditions and calls them to give his feedback. Wow!

Likewise, students are keeping up with their Taekwondo and Karate classes by attending classes on Zoom.

An uncle who is a Septuagenarian spends his time learning French using the Duolingo app. His wife gives French tuitions to students using Zoom. This Uncle runs a restaurant business that is now closed. So he spends his time experimenting with technology. He has learned to download YouTube music videos and convert them to formats that are playable on his home entertainment system.

In our Catholic community, families watch the church services streamed to their TVs or phones via YouTube apps or via Facebook. In fact, all our Easter mass services were viewed this way. Priests preach to an empty church, with only the video crew or the church choir and an assistant present. Even the Pope celebrates mass this way these days.

We keep ourselves amused by watching (or creating) short videos that are circulated in family circles.

I know a Radio Jockey (RJ) who has 20 years experience and has done shows for radio stations such as FM Rainbow, Radio City, online radio, and community radio. She has started a  show called Mind Your Health on YouTube.

Thanks to technology, we can pass our time, stay in touch with others who continue some businesses in a virtual manner.

It looks like we are going to be locked away in our homes for some time. Even the corporate world has accepted that work from home will be the new norm. TCS, a leading software company in India, just announced that 75% of their 4.5 lakh workforce will work from home or anywhere – even when the global pandemic is over. TCS is now realigning its business models and workflow processes to support a distributed workforce. Other companies are expected to do something similar.

We have to accept all this as the new norm and move ahead with our lives and our work. Everyone has to embrace and use technology today — or they will not be able to keep in touch with others. Technology, no matter how advanced it may sound, is for everyone, regardless of age.

So it would be wise to learn Zoom, Bluejeans, GotoMeeting, YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and all those apps that your nephew or niece or children take for granted.

You may not be a technology native — but you have to be an adopter.

You don’t have a choice today.

Stay safe! Stay connected!

If you enjoyed reading this article or want to share your encounters with technology, write to me at: [email protected]

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Brian Pereira
Brian Pereira
Brian Pereira is an Indian journalist and editor based in Mumbai. He founded Digital Creed in 2015. A technology buff, former computer instructor, and software developer, Brian has 29 years of journalism experience (since 1994). Brian is the former Editor of CHIP India, InformationWeek India and CISO Mag. He has served India's leading newspaper groups: The Times of India and The Indian Express. Presently, he serves the Information Security Media Group, as Sr. Director, Editorial. You'll find his most current work on CIO Inc. During his career he wrote (and continues to write) 5000+ technology articles. He conducted more than 450 industry interviews. Brian writes on aviation, drones, cybersecurity, tech startups, cloud, data center, AI/ML/Gen AI, IoT, Blockchain etc. He achieved certifications from the EC-Council (Certified Secure Computer User) and from IBM (Basics of Cloud Computing). Apart from those, he has successfully completed many courses on Content Marketing and Business Writing. He recently achieved a Certificate in Cybersecurity (CC) from the international certification body ISC2. Follow Brian on Twitter (@creed_digital) and LinkedIn. Email Brian at: [email protected]
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