Thursday, August 23, 2007

Senior Citizens and Technology

The world of technology has wreaked havoc on my poor parents. They’ve gone from rotary telephones, to cordless phones, touch dial with an answering machine attached. Voice mail would be another challenge to tackle and we’re just not there yet. On a previous post, I’ve mentioned how my mother would call me up and ask if I could bring her my “blacktop”.

What ma?”
“Bring the blacktop over.”
“What do you mean?”
“I need to look up a certain product for the pool and none of the stores have it.”
“Oh, you mean my laptop!”

Fine. I bring over my laptop and she makes this comment that I shouldn’t meet people on that “intercom”.

“The what?”
“Don’t you be meeting people on that intercom!”
“You mean, the internet, ma?”
“Yeah, whatever it is.”

When I used to work for a telecommunications company in their call center, I remember senior citizens calling in, asking for technical help with getting onto the internet.

“Well, my son just bought me this thing here that goes on my computer and I don’t know how to use it, see. They say it’ll keep us in touch more often.”

That’s all I needed to hear. Why are children doing this to their parents? It’s bad enough when I got my mother a cordless phone with caller id on it.

“How do you know when somebody calls you?”
“The phone will ring, ma.”
“How do you know who it is?”
“The caller id will display the name and number usually. You’ll see it on your little screen there.”

My mother received a cell phone bill. She upgraded to a new service that has the option for text messaging and internet. Of course, she only wants it for the basic purposes of which any telephone can do… dial and get incoming calls.

“What’s this on my bill, Deb?”
“It says SMS messaging, where someone either texted you or you texted them.”

Now I know that she or my father would never be able to texted somebody, because half the time they can’t even see the numbers they’re dialing.

Then there was silence, as she skimmed through her bill.

“Well who would tex mex anyone?”

I’m so done with helping them.