We grew up without the Internet… but we’re not worthless. 37



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The late, great Douglas Adams had a wonderful take on our reaction to technology as we get older:

  1. “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works”.
  2. “Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it”.
  3. “Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things”.

While there’s a hilarious grain of truth to this view, I can’t help but feel it’s incomplete. Is it really fair to end the list there? After all, 35 seems an alarmingly young age to close yourself off to new possibilities. Especially when life, as rumour would have it, starts at 60.

For most of us, the Internet falls squarely into the third category: something that comes later in life and changes the world we grew up with. But that hardly makes us anti­-technology. It doesn’t stop us from embracing it; benefiting from it; becoming skilled at it.

Surely we can choose which of these three stages applies to us, regardless of age.

I wish this were a view shared by the job interviewers who never phoned back; by the grandchildren who still grab the mouse or iPad off me the second I hesitate.

The Internet is more inclusive than ever, and technology has never been more accessible. Yet there still seems to be an odd idea out there that it’s off-limits to us; that we don’t want to understand it; that we’re choosing to shun it. This attitude, not the technology itself, makes people feel useless and obsolete.

We’re not. We’re still here. We want to be a part of this. Just give us the chance.

Perhaps Adams, who sadly never got the chance to live into his 50s, may have found himself adding a fourth stage to his list in time:

You realise the world isn’t what you knew. But with age comes clarity of perspective. You see the whole idea of a “natural order” as a preposterous illusion. You shrug it off and decide to enjoy whatever you damn well please.

Hopefully, someday, the rest of the world can meet us half way.

How has the Internet changed the world you grew up with? Have you ever been made to feel obsolete because of it? And has prejudice ever stopped you from embracing it?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. What a load of rubbish, I think there are a lot of us who have absolutely embraced modem technology and do their very best to keep up with it, although I have had no formal training with this technology, I did learn to type which was a huge help and the rest is self taught and there is not much I can’t do with this amazing technology, in fact without it I would be lost.

    7 REPLY
    • I have never had a lesson either, it is all trial and error with me , us oldies have got more brain power than they give us credit for 🙂

    • I agree Libbi, I think they have forgotten we didn’t need technology to do maths, we had no spell check and predictive text, which I must say often ends up in spelling a word incorrectly for several reasons, however we give it our best shot.

    • I have stumbled around my internet usage for years, I learn new stuff pretty well everyday, and keep a book of all the tips and tricks I learn along the way
      Love it!!!

    • Trish, no need to be so rude to the writer, about her article, which I thought was insightful. I too have embraced technology, and have used computers now for about 25 years. I use them for work and pleasure. But some haven’t had that opportunity and for them, it is a strange world. We really need to be more positive to our writers on here otherwise they won’t write any more. I found the negative comments on some of my earlier ones daunting, so no longer write articles.

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      • Agree with your comment Glenda; immensely enjoy daily ‘fix’ of articles. Please keep writing writers!
        77 and have been using internet/mobile phones last 18 or so years. Self taught – so much I haven’t bothered to learn.
        Biggest turn off compliments on my use of modern technology. Happened yesterday – coffee at Maccas; making good use excellent signal…’Oh I do like to see old people using modern technology’ says she as she walked past. Huh? Not exactly a spring chicken herself…Talk about a backhanded compliment!! Not impressed…..

    • I was not being rude to the Writer of SAS Glenda so get your facts straight, I was referring to the study as their are many SENIORS who have made every effort to learn about today’s technology so as not to be left behind and have SUCCEEDED THANK YOU.

    • Well it sounded as though you were being quite judgemental of the writer of the article, so perhaps you could have worded your reply differently. And now you are yelling at me.

    • Oh dear sounds to me like you are unable to have a debat about something without YELLING. Haha. You are funny Trish

  2. I use the Internet a lot, however every now and then I come up against a brick wall and have to yell for my son’s help.

  3. We love it lm 75 my husband 79 and we watch movies and series every night through the internet without adds .

  4. I don’t meant to be rude, actually I am giggling here but if it stopped us from using it , we would not be reading this article !! I went to an auction when I was about 40 years and spur of the moment I bought a computer, I was timid with it at first, just in case I blew it up. But I soon got the hang of it and have been learning ever since. It is now a part of me 🙂

  5. I was in my 40s when I started to use the internet on a regular basis. Yes I grew up without it but the internet has since enabled me to grow and broaden my knowledge in many other ways.

  6. Initially I shunned the Internet, however a very dear close relative developed Motor Neurones Disease & lost the ability to speak on the phone – communicating with her on our iPads gave us both that extended wonderful contact for longer . Now of course I have the joy of seeing my children, grandchildren,cousins , nephews & nieces photos on Facebook – yes communication this way is wonderful & immediate ( so long as my Wi Fi is working). BTW I’m 81 yrs.

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  7. Australia has no control over guns and weapons of serious crime.
    Border control needs to be boosted more staff must be honest and check for bikie conections i feel there had to be a weak link turning a blind eye

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  8. I love the Internet, and used properly it can be a valuable tool. If I don’t know how to do something, I go to dear old Google and nine times out of 10 I will get an answer. It has helped me with sewing projects and keeping in contact with family and friends interstate and overseas. I have always embraced new technology.

  9. Prior to answering the questions I must state “I commenced working in the computer industry in 1965 and have been using the internet since late 1983”

    How has the Internet changed the world I grew up with? It has been a bigger help that hindrance. Research is easier and faster but one must remember GIGO. That is “Garbage In Garbage Out”. All of my early knowledge was handed down to me by older people who I respected for their knowledge, patience and attitude they had. Today there is little respect and if it didn’t come from the net why take any notice of it.

    Have I ever been made to feel obsolete because of it? No

    And has prejudice ever stopped me from embracing it? No

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