Monday, August 10, 2009
Internet Aid for Octogenarians
Kermit and Clara, becoming Internet savvy.
I just spent the weekend in Roanoke, VA, with my family. For the past few visits, my husband and I have brought our laptop with us. My parents, both in their eighties, have always looked at it curiously and somewhat suspiciously. They talk of others who spend their time on computers doing dark, mysterious things.
The last time we visited, an old family friend (well, not that old. Gotta be careful in case they read my blog) sent my folks a note, through snail mail, about her blog. My mother could no longer resist. “What’s a blog?” she asked. I explained as best as I could and showed her my own blog. I also showed her how email works.
This visit, both of my parents were very curious and asked questions. “What’s the difference between blogs and Facebook?” Good question. “What are websites?” Another good one. I went to check up on family and friends on Facebook and gave my mother a glimpse. She was hooked.
So we spent the next hour looking for anybody they could think of that might have a computer. When we found a match, we went and looked at their personal info. We checked into their neighbors and looked to see who their friends were. Good Heavens. It is a new Golden Age for the Gladys Kravitz’s of the world. I’m sure you young’uns who don’t know who Gladys Kravitz is have already Googled her. After an hour or so, and after (accidentally) finding a photo of a large naked man, my mother was done.
Now my father wants to looks up the touring schedules of those Big Bands who are still hanging together. Then, he wants to know if I can buy his special foot cream online. Sure enough.
That evening, my parents are shooting off questions like dueling machine guns to my 18-year-old twin nieces. “What’s Twitter mean?” “Is that texting?” Now they know the difference between, iTouch, iTunes, and iPod. I really don’t. They can use Twitter and Tweeting in a sentence.
Sunday morning, my husband shows my dad all about YouTube. I don’t think I have ever seen such wonder in that man’s eyes. “Can you pull up something by Glenn Miller?” “Golly.” “How about Duke Ellington?” “Golly.” “What about Tommy Dorsey?” “Look at that!” Yep. YouTube isn’t just for Coldplay fans. And yes, believe it or not, I did not know of Coldplay until this past weekend. We're all learning.