Opinion: Just because I'm older, don't act like I can't use a computer!

Becky Roehrs

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Older smiling couple sitting on couch looking at a laptopPhoto by Yan Krukov/Pexels

Will a salesperson ever treat me like an adult again?

  • Yes, there are a lot of older adults who act helpless around electronic devices.
  • And do dumb things.

But what about those of us who know what we're doing?

  • I was a computer programmer in my 20's.
  • I was a corporate computer trainer at a Fortune 500 company in my 30's.

In my 40's and 50's, I was a college instructor who taught adults how to create web pages.

  • I've ordered computers and software for computer labs.
  • I maintain computer systems for a living.

If I look at a laptop at a store with my boyfriend, the salesperson talks to him, not me.

  • My boyfriend does know a lot about electronics; he has taught electronics at a college.
  • I ignore the salesperson and chat with my boyfriend.

THE SALESPERSON DOESN'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY after I point out the laptop's processor, hard drive size, and memory.

  • I have an iPad, a cellphone, plus a laptop that I maintain.

Now I have to admit I hate dealing with the television, but that's because I've only owned two. They're not a high priority for me.

Since my boyfriend is older than me, I assume salespeople talk to me like I'm an addled idiot because I'm a woman.

Lost that sale, honey!

I look in stores; then I order my electronic devices from the web now.

  • I don't have to deal with sexist salespeople who treat me like I'm their mom or grandmother.

Older does not mean moron; and younger may not know everything...

Just because your older relative is ignorant about electronics doesn't mean every older adult is a complete moron!

And there are plenty of millennials and others doing dumb things, too.

  • I'm not the one posting nude photos on the Internet for infinity.

I've taught an Intro to Computers class, as well as a course on how to create web pages (using HTML5/CSS) for several years.

  • I can't believe how many young adults don't know what a folder or file is.

A folder is a location to store documents or files in.

  • Files are: images (JPG, PNG, GIFs), Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or PowerPoint presentations.

In all my assignment directions for students, I have to say: "Save your files in a location you can find again."

The operative words are "find again."

Young people may know how to use social media and their iDevices.

  • But for some, laptops and desktop computers are another matter.

The next big gotcha introduced into these young people's lives was image copyrights.

  • Seriously, nearly everyone who has taken my web class thought you could grab any image off of the Internet and put it wherever you wanted.
  • It's free, right? Screw those artists? What?

And often, students thought they could copy any web article, word for word.

  • But some think they can do that with a printed book, too.

Plagiarism seems to be popular among Americans.

Don't get me wrong. I spent hours with my students, helping them.

  • And I love Millennials (Gen Y), Gen X, and Gen Z.

My generation, the Baby Boomers, are a massive disappointment to me.

  • I don't have lots of peers that I share common ground with.

And my parents' generation, the Silent Generation, oh my, let's not even go there.

  • They're in their 80s and 90s. Name an ism, and my parents have it.
  • But I know, not all folks are alike!

I love the Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z. I share many beliefs with them.

  • I like them and admire them. They're fun. They're the future.

But like it not, some of us Boomers will be around another 20–30 years.

  • Based on my genetics, I'm going to live to my 90s.

And some of us are not that different from you.

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I write about local events, politics, education, relationships, online dating, and humor. Sarcastic and silly. Loves coffee and canoeing. I've been a computer programmer, outdoor guide, and taught programming at Fortune 500s and community colleges. Now, I help folks teach online.

Cary, NC
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