Baby Boomers are Technically Lost

As our class really starts to gear up for our website, not only are we facing the challenges of writing stories, but also the technical aspect of the site. One classmate is creating our website through Wix and I have to say, I would be terrified. I have no problem writing and in fact I sometimes go out of my way to write essays and papers, but when it comes to the technical realm of website creation, I’ll give an emphatic “no”. Now to be clear, it’s not because I don’t have the ability to do so but because I’m tired of doing so. I still consider myself a digital native but somewhere between Baby Boomers and Gen Z’ers.

I’ve been aware the past few months of baby boomers in tech-savvy jobs such as SMWC’s marketing department or media relations, who are still learning these tools. While photography may be a strong suit for one person, creating an eye-catching video or aesthetically-pleasing collage is a completely different skill. So then it hit me, are baby boomers really struggling, still, in an increasingly tech-minded profession? Where millennials are considered digital natives, boomers are digital immigrants who have to be taught very specific apps and programs if they want to stay ahead of the curve (or even with it). Yeah some like to complain about “today’s kids” and their “technology”, but for the most part it seems that their generation is full of Grade-A hypocrites.

Priceonomics, via Nielson Surveys, found that 52% of Boomers use technology during dinner, compared to 38% for 15-20 year olds, and 40% for 21-34 year olds. What’s most important is how Boomers are using their technology compared to younger generations.

One survey has found that over 50% of employees check their company email over the weekend and before or after work. Another found that 40% of employees think it’s fine to respond to important work emails during family dinners. Yet another revealed that most workers expect responses to emails within an hour if not in minutes…nearly 60% of adults check their work email while on vacation, and 6% have checked their email while a spouse is in labor. Another 6% have checked email at a funeral, and 10% at a child’s school event.

Maybe it’s denial, maybe it’s ignorance and a wish to be separated from younger generations somehow, but the fact remains that Boomers are just as bad as everyone else when it comes to technology. I had my first eye-opening moment to this last week during Ring Day. As I’m sitting there, happy for my fellow classmates who have earned their rings, i look around and see a lot of phones and iPads out taking pictures. People getting up from their seats to scuttle around the church to get that perfect picture while blocking my limited view. The funny part was that 99% of the people staring at their phones to take pictures and then staring at them again to crop and edit those pictures were older parents. The elderly guests didn’t have their phones out and for the most part all the students maybe took a couple picture but then put their phone away and continued to enjoy the ceremony.

Maybe it’s a truth that Boomers hope to forget, but the reality is that Baby Boomers are some of the heaviest technology users today and their denial of reality just adds to a long list.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock 

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6 thoughts on “Baby Boomers are Technically Lost

  1. You make are really good point here. I’ve also noticed that a lot of older people are on their phones a lot, then they go around complaining about “you kids and your technology.” It sometimes seems as though they are forgetting that it’s their technology as well, and I feel as though things are moving in an opposite direction today. Back when this technology was fairly new, the younger generations were the ones obsessively messing with their phones, but now it seems as though that has shifted. For the most part, my generation is no longer using their phones during events, such as Ring Day, whereas the older generation is.

    I suppose it may have seemed worse for you at Ring Day because it looked like so many people were on their phones, but something to keep in mind is that this generation is the photograph generation: they’re the ones who recorded everything on camera, and now that their phone is the camera, it seems potentially worse.

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  2. I love the angle you chose to take with this post. It can be a challenge for someone in our generation to keep up, so it’s bound to be that much more difficult for baby boomers to learn how to use all these new technologies.
    Appealing to as many users as possible is one of my biggest concerns in terms of the layout and design of the website. I want to make sure it’s easy to navigate and not so busy that it overwhelms the eye. I’ll readily admit I’m a little terrified.

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  3. You’re right Tim, nowadays there are more and more older parents they are like addicted to their phones, this shouldn’t even have happened, when we are in a ceremony like ring day we should just sit there enjoy the ceremony yeah well maybe few pictures but like we should put our phones away, because I would put away my phone and enjoy it that would be the most appropriate for that, that would be the true meaning of the ceremony (or any kind of events)

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  4. I can see why you got blog of the week this week. It is very interesting. I never thought of baby boomers being the ones who are on their phones all the time but now that I think about it they are. I don’t understand how millennials have gained the bad rap of always being on their phone when in fact the older generations are on their phones and computers just as much as we are. We all have that grandma that is constantly updating her facebook or that boss is who constantly on their cell phones making calls. Good observation Tim!

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  5. It’s an interesting idea to find that while they’re in denial about being avid users of technology, they’re out on their phones trying to capture moments where we should be present and enjoy it for what it is. In fact, there many parts of your blog post this week that I found interesting and good information to know. I was also at Ring Day as part of SMWC’s chorale, and I saw more than a few of the Boomers in the audience pull out their phone to take pictures or snap with their kid during the ceremony (My suitemate’s dad was one of them). I found that the students, even ones that didn’t receive their rings this year, were more invested into the ceremony, tears of joy shed for their friends who received their ring, than some of the earlier generations who were all about their phones, or even taking a little snooze during the ceremony. With the internet, you’d think we’d all be more connected, but that is not always the case.

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  6. I think you make a good point. While we have grown up with technology it is still new to the baby boomers. I honestly think that they are on their phones just as much as we are, but I wonder if it’s because they didn’t have this technology when they were our ages and don’t want to miss out in what it has to offer. Like when it comes to pictures. It is so easy to just pull our phones out and capture a moment as a picture or video, and baby boomers didn’t have that when they were young. The ability to capture a moment is to great for many to pass up.

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