But you can teach them!
Frankly, I’m tired of reading how anti-tech boomers (and some seniors) are considered to be! It is time to assert our knowledge and show other generations that we know as much about technology as they know.
While the most common scenario is for parents or grandparents to call on their kids or grandkids when tech assistance is needed—from setting up home WiFi, or learning to text, or even editing photos—let’s turn that idea on its head.
Truth be told…many boomers are tech savvy and we have the numbers to prove it. More people online, more people using technology to search for answers they don’t know.
Every boomer should stay ahead of their kids/grandkids or at least stay even with them. This involves some research and reading. Start by doing one of these:
• Read the tech section of your local newspaper or occasionally peruse the Personal Tech section of the New York Times. No, you won’t turn into a techno-geek, you will stay current and learn a lot. You don’t even have to read all the articles, just survey the headlines so you see what the major issues/directions are. For example, after scanning a recent Personal Tech section in the NYT, I learned about the latest iPhone release, checked out a travel jacket that holds all your tech gear when traveling (and I would love to have), and read an article about protecting my computer from malware.
• Another source of learning (and its lots of fun as well) is to watch short videos through various media sources to learn more about technology trends, I particularly like David Pogue’s videos on Yahoo! TECH. He is funny, straight-forward, and I always learn something new.
I think it is our duty as boomers and seniors to make sure that we start helping those younger than ourselves learn about technology. Take a look at these ideas and have them ready at the next family gathering so you can show your tech-savvy self. Please note that these aren’t necessarily “deep” tips but they are still ideas that not everyone knows for both computer/tablet and smartphone users. At least one of them must apply to you.
1. LOST something? For Macs, simply use the Spotlight search in the upper-right corner of the menu bar, or press command-space. To search for something type words related to it like an app name, a word from a document, or a name you’ve given to a file. Spotlight auto-completes the search field with suggestions while you type. On a PC, simply move to Windows Search to find what you have lost.
2. You need it when? When doing a Google search, I almost always want the latest information available. So I narrow the search by clicking on Search tools and then select the time sequence that opens in the drop-down box, anywhere from “any time” to “past hour” to the one I typically select, “past year”. This narrows my search for say, repairing a refrigerator icemaker, giving me information that will be up-to-date, especially critical for online information that changes so fast. You also have a Custom Range setting that allows you to set very specific dates. I use this small tip dozens of times every week.
3. Need to fast charge your smartphone? This works for Android, iOS, or Windows’ phones. Simply turn on Airplane Mode by tapping Settings, select Airplane Mode, and plug it in to a wall outlet, not your computer. It will charge in a fraction of the time and you will be ready to go. Remember that switching to Airplane mode means you won’t be able to make or receive calls or texts, or use data or GPS until you resume normal settings. And don’t use this method for charging your battery all the time. Slow and steady and more frequent chargings are easier on your phone. Remember that you should charge when your phone is between 40-80% capacity, not totally charging then discharging.
4. How do I know which search response will help me? Another Google search, trying to find information that is useful. Let’s say I search for “safest way to change a car tire”. In .71 seconds, Google gives me about 42,400,000 results. Hmmm…I don’t have time to look through that many articles. From past experience, we know that the first two pages of search results will yield the important stuff and the rest is repetitious and only tangentially related. So, make this search even easier by adding the word “solved” at the end of your query. This will give you only responses that actually “solve” or answer your question, not merely discuss that topic. Another example, let’s search for information on how to change the filter in my furnace. I would write my search query as something like, “Change my furnace filter solved.” Bingo! That did it. Give this one a try now.
Here is your opportunity to show your kids and/or grandkids what you know about technology. Don’t be fancy about it. Don’t show-off. But next time you see them, casually mention one of these tips and step back as you become the “go to” tech guru in the family.