One of my previous bosses introduced me to the internet in the late 1990s. I was living in Houston, Texas by myself and he suggested that I set up an AOL account. I have to be honest, I didn’t think too much of the internet at the time. I had an old computer and it was very slow! I was also working most of the time and really didn’t have a lot of spare time. When my husband and I moved to Ohio, I began using it a lot more. We were both looking for jobs and we used it to do searches for employment. We did some shopping and I actually used it to update my family tree. I made it to the late 1700s on my dad’s side of the family.
I have mostly learned to use the internet and most of the hardware on my own. I can’t say that I am an expert, but I don’t have any trouble with learning as I go and testing things out on my own. One day, I hope to build my own computer!
The person that I spoke with was my father-in-law. He is 69 years old. He uses the internet daily. I think it is his first thing that he does in the morning. He checks the weather and reads all the news. He’s a news-junkie! Another thing that he likes to look at is the recipes. He’s made quite a few good dishes from some recipes he’s gotten from the internet. He didn’t really start to use the internet until he retired about 9 years ago. He’s actually very good when it comes to looking for things on the internet. The only thing I could say about him is that he doesn’t have a lot of patience, so if it takes a while for the page to load, he gets a little angry.
I think that we are very similar in how we each search for items on the internet. He doesn’t seem too afraid of going to different websites and taught himself how to do it. The biggest difference that I can see is that I use the internet for shopping and paying bills and he doesn’t trust it well enough to be able to do these things. Another difference is the lack of exploring new technologies. He’s happy with his computer and doesn’t want to get any new hardware for it or tie into it to make if better or faster or more fun.
For my in-laws, no, I don’t think the divide will get narrower. They will always use the internet for the searching, news, and games. I see them exploring a little more, but as far as learning new technologies and new software, it is very unlikely.
As far as the social effect with regard to new technologies, the older generation may miss some of the exciting changes that can happen with these technologies. If they don’t want to learn how to use them, then as the younger generation realizes this, there may be a disconnect within the generations. In addition, if a parent doesn’t keep up with these technologies, their children can get into all kinds of trouble. There could be a good chance that they won’t know what their children are doing online.http://www.llrx.com/features/generationgap.htm