Perils for young and old alike in our fast-moving digital age

Sandra Chapman
Sandra Chapman

Technology isn’t my strong point so when anything goes wrong with my computer, mobile or printer I really have no idea where to start to fix them.

It means my sons, neither of whom live in this country, get odd mobile messages from me asking how do I fix this or what should I do when a red light instead of a green one is flashing on some bit of equipment.

Are you tech savvy?

Are you tech savvy?

Himself is only slightly better at it though he has the patience to spend hours learning how to get it right.

Once a year we invite ‘the teenager’ in to help us sort out updates. He’s a true child of the digital age – there’s nothing he doesn’t know and his future career is being targeted in that direction.

Sometimes he fixes me with a stare if I ask a question and I know by that look I should slink away and make coffee instead.

At my age technological information is becoming increasingly difficult to retain, but I’m doing my best.

This week I’ve been getting my books ready for the accountant.

He has suggested I do them online because that would be easier for me.

The thought sends quakes down my spine.

I don’t like admitting to him that I wouldn’t know where to start. I know it would save me time and probably money but that’s the way with my generation; we hang on to the old ways knowing they are inefficient and no longer cost-effective but our brains find it hard to adjust to new ways of doing things.

My books are all ready now, done in my neatest handwriting, figures highlighted where appropriate and it took me just three days to complete them.

I swear they’re a work of art and when I get them back will put them away in a cupboard for the grandchildren to find when they’re clearing out the house after I’m gone.

“At least it will show them how we did things in the past before everything were completely hi-tech.

I know, I know, I could have saved myself all that time and effort by doing them online.

But the weather this week persuaded me that I wasn’t missing a thing by being outside anyway.

“It also gave me the opportunity to catch up on what else is happening in the digital world through the business pages of the newspapers.

And there, I discovered, that 10 years after the first iPhone (is it that long?) Apple is about to lead the iPhone world again with a new £1,000 device.

Just imagine paying that for a phone.

This is a radical new handset featuring a larger screen that covers the whole body (not sure what that means), removing the home button that has featured on every iPhone to date.

It also “features facial recognition technology which allows users to unlock their phone simply by looking at the device”. Now I wonder, would that mean facing the phone with make-up or not.

It might not recognise me without it.

I’ve almost got the hang of the camera on my own obviously very old-fashioned phone, thinking I was the bee’s knees for having mastered sending pictures to my sons living in different parts of the world until I got a message on it one day telling me I was approaching my monthly limit and would have to pay more into the account to continue. So how would I do that? I spent a day working it out.

Maybe I should apply to join one of those courses which help oldies cope with the digital age. I’m glad to say we are not alone in our struggle.

The chief executive of Public Health England, Duncan Selbie, suggests that teenagers are under more pressure than those of previous generations and a syllabus should be rolled out in schools to help children cope with the social issues of the digital age.

If it’s stressful for the youngsters, then give a thought to the rest of us having to cope on our own.