By Cindi Pichler, Assistive Technology Specialist
My mother needs a new computer. Her current one has definitely seen better days. My brother is an IT guy, so we put our heads together and mutually decided that a tablet would meet her needs well. She doesn’t do anything strenuous, mostly email and some web-based puzzle games. Sometimes a little internet research—nothing that requires a lot of power or storage. I had my office tablet with me when we proposed the idea, so I could show her all of the wonderful things it could do.
She wanted nothing to do with it. We entered into the classic technology discussion: “But Mom, it can …” Nothing we could say was going to change her mind. Her counterarguments were solid, and worth repeating. She didn’t want to read books on a tablet; she likes the feel of a real book in her hands. She was not impressed that she could use it in her easy chair; walking to the computer gives her an excuse to get up. Convenience was not appealing; she felt that needing to actually physically go to a store or the library not only provides exercise, but socialization too.
She’s not alone—quite a bit has been written about how electronics are changing the way we interact, and not always for the better. Stay on the internet long enough and you can find support for any side of the “is technology changing us” discussion. Technology is neither good nor bad, but electronic devices are changing so rapidly that devices that are commonplace nowadays literally did not exist 15 years ago. In case that sounds like a long time, it takes more than 15 years for a baby to reach biological maturity. Changes are happening so fast that a growing number of people are trying to put the brakes on and slow down. For those of us with children who cry for the latest devices and parents who lament the “good old days,” keeping everyone happy is like walking a tight rope.
Is my mom going to get a new desktop computer? Yeah, probably. Is there an iPad on my Christmas list? You bet!!
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Contact Cindi Pichler at firstname.lastname@example.org