This year, my mom finally got her first smartphone. After years and years of resisting it, she finally put a brave face on and confronted her daily fear: mobile technology.
Before the smartphone, Mom had a slide phone – the one where you still needed to press a keypad number multiple times to get your desired letter when sending a text message (at this point using a carrier pigeon might have been faster). The phone didn’t take pictures or display text messages with images or videos. With no apps or wireless capabilities, Mom’s phone was very one-dimensional.
As mobile technology evolved and friends and family upgraded their devices, Mom got left behind. People would share funny videos or images, but Mom could not see any of it: she was in the dark.
When I asked her why she didn’t get a smartphone, she shook her head vehemently:
“I hate the computer, I hate these gadgets. I try to use them but they send me in circles, they don’t make sense and they always want to know my location…no way! I’m too old for this.”
Fear of technology is not uncommon for most of us who do not naturally gravitate toward gadgets. There are a number of reasons why we may fear or distrust technology overall, and it is usually related to a fear of the unknown. For those of us who are too nervous or hesitant to embrace digital technology, our inner dialogues may go something like this:
It’s uncharted territory – there are so many options, where do I start? There’s just so much that I don’t know. I’m too old for this. Forget it – I’m shutting this down.
There’s no privacy – these apps keep asking to use my location. By participating in the digital world, am I exposing my personal details for everyone to see? I don’t want the public to know anything about me. I’m staying away!
Digital technology is everywhere and everyone always seems connected. Once I invite it into my life, will I be hopelessly addicted? I don’t want to be like all of those other people with their faces constantly plastered to a flat screen wherever they go.
These new gadgets aren’t logical – nothing makes sense. I can’t find what I need or do what I need to do. Give me back the pen and paper days.
Whether we like it or not, computers, smartphones and other electronics are everywhere and they’re here to stay. Embracing new technology can be hard – it can be confusing, complicated and technology is changing all the time. Like many things we don’t understand, the digital world can be intimidating.
So what can you do to overcome this fear and get comfortable with your gadgets? Here are 6 tips to remember:
Be Patient and Play!
Explore and embrace technology – you’re not going to break it by pressing buttons or using it. The few times I taught my mom how to use my iPhone, she would lightly tap the screen as if it were scalding hot. She was afraid to press the wrong button, convinced she might break it somehow by selecting the wrong option. Once she realized the device would not spontaneously combust if she pressed an undesired button, she gained more confidence and learned new skills.
Age Is Not An Excuse. Be Willing To Keep Learning.
For all ages, change is indeed the only constant. There is always something new to learn and technology is no exception – it keeps evolving. So try to be open to learning about new apps, programs and tools that interest you. Regardless of your age, learning new technology is good for connecting, productivity and expanding your horizons.
You Don’t Have To Know Everything All At Once
There is so much information out there, remember you don’t need to know everything – only what’s useful to you. When you know how to use these relevant tools, your potential is limitless.
It’s a great feeling when you finally figure out how to download that file or save a PDF, right? But what happens to that knowledge when you do it once and that’s it? Inevitably, you forget. Using technology is like riding a bike. Keep practicing – once you do it enough times, you’ll never forget.
Ask Questions and Talk to Others
Chances are you aren’t the only one with gripes about gadgets. Don’t be afraid to ask family, friends or company technical support questions. Many companies nowadays have excellent Support teams who will gladly answer your questions and shed more light on topics that seem complicated. You may be surprised by just how easy the process is.
Set Your Boundaries
Integrating technology in your life doesn’t mean it has to control your life. You do. If you feel like you can’t get away, try setting some clear, healthy boundaries. Don’t check your work email over the weekend. Put your phone on silent mode and keep it away or completely out of the bedroom during sleep. Make a habit of putting your smartphone away and not checking it when you’re with friends.
Keep these 6 tips in mind and it is possible to get over the fear of technology, you may even start to enjoy using your gadgets.
Today my mom enjoys sharing photos, videos and text messages from her iPhone, with family and friends and she has even expanded her horizons to an iPad. While she’s still suspicious of the computer, she’s just connected enough to enjoy those kitten videos.
If you’re ready to take the next step and get more comfortable with the digital world, click here or schedule a free 30-minute consultation with one of our team members to learn more.