Dear Millennials: Stop Treating Baby Boomers Like They’re Idiots If They Struggle with Technology

Let me preface this by saying I do not approve of millennial-bashing. I am a millennial and proud of it. I think we are a creative, diverse, motivated generation who have been handed a turd that we’ve been trying to polish for two decades  (but that’s a topic for a whole different blog post).

But the tech shaming has got to stop.

You know exactly what I mean.

Maybe your mom isn’t great at “The Facebook”. Maybe your dad absolutely refuses to text. Maybe your uncle can’t Google to save his life. Maybe your mother-in-law frantically calls you because she “broke” the computer but it is, in fact, not turned on. 

We’ve all been there in one form or another, and we have all been guilty of tech shaming, including me. I used to be one of the worst offenders, I’m sure. 

Not everyone over the age of 45 struggles with technology, but if you have someone in your life who fits that bill…

For the love of gawd: JUST HELP THEM.

And don’t grumble about it.

Don’t make fun of them.

Don’t be condescending.

And don’t treat them like they are stupid. 

Take the high road, even if you have serious beef with their generation in general and EVEN IF they are ungrateful (chances are they’re secretly grateful anyway). 

You know why? Because there is a good chance they taught you how to use a spoon and wipe your a**. That’s why.

They aren’t digital natives like you and me. They are digital immigrants, so learning the digital language is like learning a foreign language as an adult. 

Have you ever tried to learn Chinese? I have, and it sucks. That’s what it’s like for them. Sure some pick it up faster than others, but many of them give up,  or worse, rage against technology entirely. They call it stupid, unnecessary, distracting, detrimental and even immoral, and a lot of that attitude can be traced back to an ungrateful daughter who was too “busy” to help their mom set up her new printer. 

If that’s not reason enough, think of it this way: it’s a public service. 

Just follow me on this one.

Do you know what baby boomers do?

They vote – all the time, every time. 

And guess what: if they think something is stupid, unnecessary, distracting, detrimental, or immoral, they vote against it. If they can’t vote against it, they lobby against it, they spend against it, they write letters against it, they ban it, and they generally make TERRIBLE DECISIONS REGARDING IT (*ahem* net neutrality anyone?)

So rather than being a condescending a**bag when your mom can’t figure out how to open those pictures you sent her, try helping her in a kind, gracious manner instead. 

In fact, you should GO OUT OF YOUR WAY to help the less tech savvy to better understand technology. If they understand the digital language better (more specifically, if they understand the signs and symbols of the internet) they can make better decisions about how they use these tools and how they consume the information therein. 

And in a world of fake news, foreign cyber attacks, and digital information manipulation – the more people who are fluent in the digital language, the better.

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