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Preparation for Later Life
Part 1 Becoming Acquainted with Technology

Becoming Acquainted with Technology: Part 1

Things move quickly nowadays.  And in the space of just a few years we have witnessed the growth of technologies such as mobile phones (and their more advanced cousins, smartphones), laptops, PCs and tablets. We’ve witnessed the growth of messaging services such as texting, WhatsApp and instant messaging. Increasingly people use face to face video calling using services such as Skype and FaceTime. The business world has seen the rise and reign of giants such as Apple and Microsoft. And often you may find reference is made to the growth of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.
 

For someone unfamiliar with these things this may seem confusing or even unsettling. A whole new world in which there is a new way to stay in touch, a new way to share our lives, a new lexicon and a new way of communicating. If technology didn’t take up and affect so much of so many people’s lives then I doubt there would be this underlying apprehension and wariness of it. There are so many subjects and fields that are very complex which we own little knowledge of, but this doesn’t trouble us as much since it doesn’t change the world around us or have much impact on our daily lives. But perhaps as you reach the age of retirement you begin to worry that you may start to fall behind, lose touch and, essentially, miss out. The workplace is a great place to discuss interests, make and maintain friendships, share hobbies, make connections and is a means to an end for so much of what happens outside the work sphere. So when one gets taken out of that environment it would be understandable to feel suddenly at a loss for what to do, and lack of understanding of technology can certainly exacerbate that issue. But therein lies the problem, how to make the most of something you have a limited grasp of, perhaps outside what was required for your job?

Those not belonging to the younger generation often find themselves not using these great tools, possibly to their own detriment. Why is this so? One angle that may answer this question can be summed up in one word, fear. Anecdotally it seems one of the differences between the older and younger generation’s relationship with technology is that the younger generation lacks the fear or at least the same level as fear when it comes to exploring new technology, learning to use new technology and embracing new technology. Understandably this may stem from the younger generations having somewhat of a head start having been brought up around and immersed in technology. But are they intrinsically more adept at using it? I don’t believe so. Rather they have been more exposed to it. They have gained that small amount of knowledge required to start the journey of using technology and have flourished. So why not the older generation too?

The amazing uses of a computer are many, and when I say computer in this case I mean desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Just a few incredible things you can take advantage of when using one are:

-           Keeping in touch with family and friends

 This could be done in a multitude of ways, depending upon whether you want to learn how to text or text more proficiently. Many people enjoy receiving a quick update from their son or daughter. Others use Skype or FaceTime to have a face to face video call with the grandkids. Or maybe you would prefer something slower, if you have a friend who no longer lives near you, you may wish to keep in touch through e-mail as e-mail is seen as more relaxed and laid back, and where the etiquette doesn’t necessarily require an instant reply.

-          Learning

There are many ways to learn new things online using the internet, whether it is a new language or you wish to learn a new skill such as DIY/Home Improvement, cooking/baking, arts and crafts, the list goes on and on. There are many more things that may appeal to different individuals and there is of course thousands of hours worth of uploaded footage on websites such as YouTube that can help you learn. Instructional videos for a wide range of topics can be found all over the internet.

-          Hobbies

Learnt a new skill or already possess one and want to share it with like-minded people? Or an interest you are passionate about? The internet is another way to enjoy this.

There are so many examples of different hobbies that people partake in that find a home on the internet through forums, sharing pictures, uploaded videos and chatting about the topic with other hobbyists. Whether you’re interested in Cooking and Baking, Model Railways, Model Cars, Clocks and Watches, Languages, Embroidery, Knitting, Landscape Painting, Astronomical Photography, Cricket, Home Projects, there is material aplenty. Once again there is just too much to list.

Keeping in touch with family and friends, learning something new and enjoying pre-existing hobbies, just three examples of taking advantage of very simple technology to enrich your life, but there is so much more out there too and part of it is what you make of it yourself.

I hope you will visit again next week to read the second and final part of this article and also benefit from the information provided within which focuses on 5 important tips to bear in mind when using new technology, as well as the conclusion for this article as a whole.

 IC.

 

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