As I get older it's interesting how people use age as an excuse for lazy ignorance

I’m 50 this year and in dealing with clients it’s not unheard of to run across someone who’s 60 or so saying “I just don’t do computers or email” when we need to get documents. I used to let this go thinking “Well they’re just old”, but as I’m nearing the age of some of the people pulling this stuff I’m getting less and less inclined to let it go.

Computers, and more recently the net, have been around in serviceable form since at least the mid to late 80’s to mid-late 90’s. That means if you’re 65 and you “don’t do computers” your head has been up your ass since you were 40-50 or so.

You’re not “old” you’re just lazy and ignorant.

My mother (a SAHM for the last 42 years) took a free “computers and internet” course offered by City Hall, oh… about 4 years ago. It was three classes per week, 2h per class, along 3 months.

During the first week, Mom at 63 was the second-youngest person there, the youngest being the instructor. Except for the instructor, it was all women, as the course was organized by the “women’s council:” it wasn’t “women only,” but having been advertised in pink posters, men didn’t even know such courses existed (this has been remedied now, as guys got badgered by their mom into signing up).

On the second Monday they had four new people. The four brand-new Residents at the local Hospital, two of which had already practiced medicine for years but had decided to get a second specialty with better hours (the local Hospital does Residence for GP only). They’d gotten to the hospital, been shown the computers, been asked to open Word and find something in Google. Not a single one of them knew how to do either :smack: so the next step was “ok, City Hall offers these courses, you ladies are all signing up.”

When Mom told me about it, she started with “remember how I was surprised that your SiL knows less about technology than I do and you told me it’s a doctor thing, they must be the only college students who don’t need to use a computer?”

My brother went to Business School. About one third of his classmates refused to use computers; since every report they had to write and every assignment they had was a group thing, these people could get away with that attitude. He graduated over ten years ago and still doesn’t understand it. We get reports from current university teachers who see people like that.

It’s definitely not age. It’s stupidity. What that says about the future state of Spanish medicine, I don’t want to think.

Oh, so we’re not talking about people who can’t be bothered to learn cursive or to read a book because they’re too busy playing video games?

My mother is 75 years old and can barely do e-mail. She lives with her sister since her rented house was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina.

My Aunt has had a computer for a couple years but my mother had only toyed with it. She really had no need for it and why would she? Since she has been living with Auntie I have tried to teach her how to do things on the computer but she gets nervous. Do you want to tell her she’s lazy and ignorant?

Everybody learns cursive (meaning they force us to learn it in 2nd grade), most of us just discard it a few year later because we like print better. I can write in cursive (though I will admit, it takes a little effort to remember one or two letters), I just don’t like to, tires out my hand faster as well.

And book vs video game, well, a lot of games are pretty much interactive books nowadays. Pick any random JRPG and you’ve pretty much got a book with an arbitrary challenge (which may I add, also requires a little thinking) to get to the next page. I mean, reading books is great, and I love it, but given the current state and range of video games you can’t really call them THAT shallow.

Or have I been wooshed/otherwise misinterpreted your post in some fashion? I’ll admit my reading comprehension isn’t the best at 4AM.

I have met folks older than me (I’m 51) who are very adept at using computers. These are the people who also learned how to program their VCRs. We have Dopers on the boards who are in their 60’s, 70’s, and even 80’s. My dad used email until he was 80 (although he never figured out how to deal with attachments, but I blame his cheesy AOL mail client for that more than anything; he was a retired business executive with two engineering degress and an MBA). So age as an excuse not to keep up with modern tools is bullshit. People who use age an an excuse probably never got it to begin with and just got tired of trying.

Some people are good at it and some never quite get it. I helped someone with an Excel problem recently and he told me that his boss needed to put the sum at the bottom of a column of numbers, and to do so took out a calculator, added the numbers up, and typed the total into the cell.

On the other side of the coin, however, as alluded to by Gala Matrix Fire, are people my kids’ age who write school papers like, “I, like, really liked the book. Parts were, like, very funny LOL! GTG, POS :-)”

I think that most people are forgetting that while computers have been around for decades, internet and email have only really become a common form of communication since about 1996.

When I was in college from 91-95, you didn’t have broadband internet in every room. Unless you bought your own computer (which a lot of people did) you had to go to one of the computer labs on campus. If you weren’t an engineering or business student, you probably didn’t need a computer for anything other than writing papers. There was no online registration. We had to go and stand in line for an hour at the registrars office (maybe kids still do) to sign up for class.

And no one really used computers in high school other than maybe if you used a CAD workstation in architecture class.

I didn’t work at a company where everyone had email and internet access until 1998.

Anyone who went to school after 1995 really has no excuse for not using a computer. I’m sure more and more professors are using online chat rooms, email, document sharing software and other web based tools for their class and you would be pretty much at a huge disadvantage if you didn’t learn how to take advantage of them.

Nobody can be bothered to learn cursive because no one uses cursive after the third grade.

Most people know how to read. They may, however, not choose reading as a way of passing the time.

Real estate is a good second career for a person, but I’ve seen too many agents who cannot or will not learn to use the Internet to pull listings.

Get with the program people.

  1. “Cursive” is an archaic waste of time and I’m glad my future kids won’t be subjected to it.

  2. Not all books are inherently better than all video games. And saying so makes it obvious that your lazy ignorance means you’re very old.

I think it’s the can’t stop for directions attitude that you face. Nobody has sat down with these people and taught them anything they need to know to get started. Can you imagine just starting fresh today and not even knowing how a computer runs or any modern communication. You’d be embarrassed to death having to keep asking about assumed knowledge.

Once the bad memory kicks in you can’t learn anything, because one minute later you don’t remember. The best you can do then is leave short post it notes on the device to get by on.

I think those two reasons account for a majority of old persons not dealing with new technology.

My *present *kids learn it and I’m glad they do. They do most of their assignments on the computer, but everyone needs to learn to write. Cursive was invented because it’s a more fluid and efficient means of writing than printing, and that is important if you actually write anything. If you don’t think it’s important to communicate on paper then you have never had the pleasure of receiving a love letter in the mail. Saving it in your “inbox” folder will never compare to having a scented leaf of paper in your dresser drawer. My wife has over a hundred letters that her grandfather wrote to her grandmother before they got married. Even though this legacy would be theoretically possible with digital media, people just don’t bother. Do you archive your emails for your grandchildren to read in 50 years?

This is, of course, a true statement, but the lamentable trend is to play video games and stop reading altogether.

I am not a Luddite, I am a manager in the IT industry.

And the third reason is brought to us by Gala Matrix Fire: Anything new is just junk composed of gimmicks and old technology repackaged for morons. Computers are worse than TV, which was worse than radio, which was worse than novels, which were worse than epic poetry, which was worse than the Greek and Latin classics, and so on.

Nothing is ever invented, either: Everything existed 40-50 years ago in the same form, by which I mean twice-daily newspapers are precisely the same as instant coverage from locals posting to blogs, and talking to a small group of locals at the tavern is precisely the same as the large global bunch here at the SDMB.

This is beyond ignorance. This is ignorance plus arrogance, the unmistakable mark of the deeply insecure personality.

Actually, that’s not true. I’m taking a class in Teen Literature right now and studies show that most teens do read, a lot actually. It’s just that most people look at “reading” as reading books and not as just reading something.

The studies show that the majority of teens read books regularly and that all teens read at least something (magazines, newspapers, articles on the Internet) every day.

I’ve been looking for a new place for several weeks (and got one, woot!). In Glasgow there’s several good webpages for this. All of them have a form which you fill and it sends email to the person or agent who placed the ad. Some don’t give you the phone or email of the poster directly unless they specifically wrote it into the body of the ad.

Dealing with owners has mostly gone fine. I send the message asking when would it be a convenient time, they email back, I confirm.

Dealing with agents? I send the message asking when would it be a convenient time and whether they have other properties with XYZ characteristics. They email their phone. OK… I could have gotten that already if I’d wanted to, but hey, I’ll call you. I call. They ask when do I want to see it (I did ask first, bubba). Can’t be today. Can’t be tomorrow. They don’t do showings on weekends. Do you have anything else of a similar size in the area between A and B, without carpet? “Oh, I don’t know…”

Yes, the place I’m renting is “by owner.” Og save me from the professionals!

I know at least a dozen people in their eighties who use the internet regularly. Probably closer to two dozen. The women tend to be active in genealogy. But I know just as many in their sixties who can’t even sent a simple e-mail.

At least once a day I get a library patron, an older adult, who sits down at a computer and says “I’m not computer literate, so you’ll have to do it for me.” The bold part is the important part. One day I will just punch one of those people in the nose.

Oh, please. There are lots of people out there **young and old **who do not know how to turn on a stove or a washing machine. Too difficult to learn? Huh. :rolleyes:

When I was a computer instructor in the early/mid 90s, a few of my students gave me that “Oh, hahaha- I’m so old fashioned, I can’t even turn a computer ON!” I let them and my subsequent classes know that bragging of that level of ignorance now was like bragging that they couldn’t figure out those newfangled telephones everyone is talking about. (these were business people who needed computers for work, btw, not a community class) I mean come on- people were often PROUD of their ability to keep their heads in the sand. I let a few of them know that if they continued that attitude, damned sure someone else would make the effort to learn and they would be left in the dust.

In total agreement with the OP. If my late grandfather could learn to use the Internet and e-mail in his late 70s, after cancer and two rounds of brain surgery, then anyone with the will and some level of intelligence can do it. And my grandfather was no techie, either; in fact, he was an antique dealer his whole career and couldn’t even figure out how to insert a cassette in his boombox.

This is what aggravates me about my boss, who is in his mid-60s, though admittedly he has gotten a lot better than he used to be.

It annoys me to no end when my bosses (in their mid-50s; I’m in my mid-40s) are unable to grasp the fact that yes, you can open IE and google something while you’re in the middle of composing an email and none of your “typing” :rolleyes: will be lost. And I wasn’t kidding the first 22 times I assured of you that.

Sometimes I wonder if mid-50s (plus) technophobia is a symptom of the ‘my arms aren’t long enough anymore’ or the bi-focal stage of life. They really need their monitor lowered to accommodate their need to look at the keyboard while they’re typing and constantly looking up at the monitor to check for typos and perhaps refresh their chain of thought. This constant focus-shifting makes them dizzy and newbies develop an aversion to computers. Plus, yes, there’s the whole ‘memory ain’t what it used to be’ and ‘I don’t want to look foolish’ thing. Macular degeneration typically begins at this stage of life, too. Bright backgrounds on webpages and document templates combined with relatively small font sizes are not easy on their eyes.

It also peeves me to see Q-Tips bogging the line at the bank, pension cheques in hand (no direct deposit) so the teller can pay their utility bills (no auto payment) and transfer the usual X dollars to their savings account (no auto transfer). I understand the elderly have vision problems, making use of ATMs nigh on impossible, so I have no complaints about them using the teller for cash withdrawals and savings book updates. But geez, can they not set up automatic deposits and utility payments?

I’m not so irked by kids not learning cursive in elementary (primary) school. I see its waning as a form of communication as a natural evolution of the age of technology–I mean, TV remote controls weren’t yet commonplace when I was in elementary school! Cursive will probably become an elective rather than a required course. To be able to communicate (i.e., read and write) properly in the printed form is by far the greater issue. It’s hard to find a message board not littered with horrifying mistakes in spelling and grammar, and it’s concerning to say the least.