About a dozen years ago, a video of two silver-haired seniors fruitlessly trying to figure out Skype—not knowing their webcam was on—made the internet rounds. The unintentionally comic bit, one viewer commented, showed why technology was “geriatric kryptonite.”
A lot has changed since then. Nonetheless, the image of a senior fumbling helplessly with a computer or smartphone is still a persistent trope.
While the digital divide between older and younger people is narrowing, it is still too wide; 99% of those between 18 and 20 use the internet, while 75% of those 65 and older use it, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.
And the pandemic had a paradoxical effect on this divide: It helped many of those who successfully navigated Zoom or ordered online groceries, for example, to feel more comfortable with the virtual world, but it also highlighted how urgent the need is for older adults to acquire technological literacy.
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