We’re a funny generation. Growing up, we were taught that if we didn’t know the answer to something, we had two options. The first was to go away and work it out. Plain and simple! And the second was to ask someone. Most of the time we went with the first option – it meant we were free from judgement, in case it was a “stupid” question (we all later on learnt that there were only very few stupid questions in life) and it meant that we didn’t have to own up to not knowing something. Now, we’re happy to ask questions because we know that’s the only real way to get help, but people don’t always have the answers.
We’re also the generation that grew up without computers and lived lives free from them – until we got into the workforce and were expected to know how to use them. We don’t all trust computers, some of us still see them as devices that can steal our money and our personal information before seeing them as the things that can give us connections, organisation, logic and entertainment.
And the thing is, this way of viewing computers is completely stopping us from using them as well as we could.
Last week a good friend of mine asked me how I knew a nifty trick for cleaning your oven. My response was something along the lines of, “Well, I did it on the internet. I Googled it and it came up on Starts at 60!” She looked horrified as I’d used three terms she wasn’t at all familiar with. I couldn’t help but be a little taken aback. We are the same age and we went to the same school – we just have embraced technology in very different ways.
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After explaining what “Google” was and what “to Google” meant, I began thinking. Are many other over 60s stuck in the same predicament? Are we letting our fear of technology stop us from getting on with it and finding the answers we need with ease and convenience?
The thing I want to tell everyone reading this article is that you CAN find the answer on Google. On the Starts at 60 wall, I see so many people asking them questions about all sorts of things – family issues, health questions, recipes, financial advice and so many others. For every question that I’ve seen asked, there is an answer on the internet – you just have to use Google.
There is false information online and there are hoaxes and scams, but using a bit of common sense can help us to sort the good information from the bad.
To anyone who hasn’t used Google properly before, it’s quite simple. You can:
a) Type in a question. For example, “How can I clean my dishwasher?”
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b) Type in keywords. For example, “dishwasher cleaning DIY”
Both will return a myriad of websites with perfectly good answers. You can plan holidays using Google, research things using Google and find answers to everyday problems on Google.
So many of our generation has an unusual mindset. We are confused about whether to trust computers and the information they can give us or steer very clear of them. We don’t have to have this attitude and we can use computers to make our lives easier, we just have to remember that we CAN find the answer on Google.
Tell me, do you use Google? Do you make the most of technology or do you still find it untrustworthy and intimidating?