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Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 |

How middle-aged technophobes become internet explorers


boringbeigelaptopFor the middle-aged technophobe, exploring new technology sounds about as appealing as kissing a great white shark.

In fact, the introduction of new computers or hi-tech machinery in the workplace can be a major contributory factor to a midlife crisis. Suddenly we’re stressed and unable to cope – we’ve been turned overnight into stupid old fossils who should make way for the younger generation.

We use mobile phones but we never figured out how to download those app thingies off the internet, and we don’t know what all those buttons on the TV remote control are for (does anyone?) We have DVD players but, to be honest, we preferred videos.

We may be the last generation of technophobes, but we will become the first generation of computer-savvy oldies. Sure, we may not be able to explain the difference between an iPod and a Blackberry (or an iPod and the cardboard box it came in) but we’re getting to grips with the new technology, once our kids have set it up for us.

And it’s never too late to start.

To middle-aged computer users, the internet is a castle of wonder undreamed of in the days when playing Space Invaders on our ZX-81 was cutting-edge technology.

We log on to buy something on Ebay and get side-tracked by intriguing links about a house built in the shape of a tortoise, a man with half a head, or whether John Dillinger’s penis is in the Smithsonian Museum.

We may have loathed science at school, but we can still become obsessed with GIFs, those mini-films which replay automatically, showing peculiar optical illusions, the ‘elephants’ toothpaste’ effect, what happens when you add soy sauce to a dead cuttlefish, or how a revolver looks when it’s fired underwater.

Our mature outlook on life means we can get far more out of the internet than our kids, who spend half their time on Facebook and the rest playing online games. If our families have moved away, we can still watch our grandchildren’s first attempts to crawl, or talk to our kids live on Skype. We can follow the witty words of famous people like Stephen Fry on Twitter for inspiration, learn how to train our dogs or find out how our ancestors earned their living.

Why would we middle-aged internet explorers waste our time looking at photos of celebrities without their make-up and cute pictures of fluffy animals, when we can find astounding new ‘I-want-one’ inventions, such as a waste bin which moves to catch thrown rubbish, a fish which glows in the dark, or a 3-D printer that can produce fresh-baked pizza?

The internet has everything. It’s the perfect tool for expressing our creativity and discovering our talents. We don’t even need to wait until we stumble upon something fascinating, as Stumbleupon will find it for us – and even learn what we like!

In this magic city where anything is possible, developing our computer skills could be the push we need to start something amazing! We can get in touch with our old school-friends, publish a book, find a new partner, get legal advice, start a home business, check our medical symptoms, find a freelance job or take an online degree. We can’t even imagine what opportunities there might be in another 20 years.

Reality? I wouldn’t have it as a GIF.

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