By Ariele Vaccaro
Most of us can name at least one beloved senior who sees technology as an inexplicable enigma — a tool for use only by millennials.
But the Milwaukee retirees that attended an August 12 smartphone and tablet seminar at the Washington Park Senior Center might argue differently.
“We want to keep abreast of what’s going on in technology as well,” said Al’Lean Davis, a member of the center. Later, she admitted that she’s owned her smartphone for about five years and came to learn mobile email.
Davis and 23 other seniors wielding iPhones, Androids, and tablets of all kinds packed into a small computer lab to learn how to use some their devices most basic functions: email, texting, photography, and more.
The seminar is part of a national kick-off of AT&T’s Digital You initiative. It’s a collaborative effort to increase technological literacy among older populations.
Director of Government Affairs at AT&T Dextra Hadnot gave a slideshow presentation, outlining certain functions that older residents could use in their everyday lives.
He asked the seniors if they had ever used their devices to browse the web. Only about five raised their hands.
He asked them if they had ever used their devices to take photos. Only two raised their hands.
“There’s a little bit of anxiety about that with older people,” Hadnot said, also noting social media and texting messaging as challenges for senior citizens.
During the remainder of the seminar, six AT&T representatives walked around the lab, helping any attendee with specific questions on their devices.
“I think this is an excellent resource for senior citizens,” Davis said, happy having learned more about downloading apps.
According to Hadnot, this was not AT&T’s first Digital You seminar and it likely won’t be the last.
He’s finding that many seniors are interested in learning how to use a number of features on their phones and tablets.
In addition, he would like to see a lot more seniors stay in touch with their younger family and friends via mobile devices “because they’re here to stay.”