About a year ago, my father came up to my mother and me during breakfast, saying he wanted to upgrade his very old Nokia phone to a smartphone. Our reactions to this confession weren’t kind. My father—who was 61—had almost zero experience with technology at the time. Also, my parents are both from Minsk, Belarus, so English is a second language for them. Going from an old Nokia phone to something that many consider to be a pocket computer was a big leap. I hate to admit that although I’m in the business of introducing new technology to everyone, when my father asked for my help I told him he was too old to be diving into technology.
My father did not let my comment deter him. Eventually my mother and I gave in and I went with my dad to Sprint and set him up with a new smartphone. Of course he picked an Android phone—which I personally believe can be harder to navigate than an iPhone—but that didn’t stop my father. In fact getting a smartphone only made him want to dive further into technology.
A few weeks after getting his phone, he asked me to download World of Tanks. World of Tanks is a massive multiplayer online game. These types of games are played by hardcore gamers who invest a lot of time and money. My first reaction was “no way am I downloading this for you!” but my father once again was very persistent. I ended up giving him my old computer and set the game up for him.
At first I was getting daily questions about how to do this and that on the computer. But eventually the things I showed him ended up sticking, or at least he would keep notes on what I showed him so that he longer needed to ask me. He is now at the point where he rarely asks for my help. If he’s not playing his game then he is searching YouTube and watching helpful video tutorials. If he feels the game cheated him in any way, he goes to the games website and fills out complaints. All on his own!
So is there an age limit to technology? As my now 62 year old father proves, you are never too old to introduce new technology to your life. If you are given the opportunity to learn something new—or to even convert a face to face course to an online—don’t be scared to dive in. You might need to ask for help everyday in the beginning, but eventually, if you open yourself to the task, you will get to a point where you will feel comfortable doing things on your own.