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Golden agers online


by Jacky Lynne A. Oiga

In 2009, local telco giant Bayan Telecommunications Inc. (Bayantel) launched the ‘Lola Techie’ campaign through a TVC showing 66-year-old Lola Techie Cruz teaching her grandson the wonders of the internet. Thanks to the ad’s humorous yet heartwarming take on ‘digital divide’, the TVC went viral, the campaign was awarded profusely both here and abroad and Lola Techie became an overnight celebrity.

But in reality, although more and more seniors are enjoying the perks of the internet for recreation or to connect with loved ones, our beloved grandparents still need a little help with the technical and practical aspects of handling the desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets they access the internet with.

If mom and dad still can’t go around using their gadgets efficiently, what more for granny and gramps? Tech Lifestyle rounded up a few simple tips on how to help seniors be more tech-savvy:

  • Turn the mobile internet off
  • It’s a known fact that Facebook and Youtube are notoriously addicting. To make sure that elderly users don’t get overboard in using mobile data for internet, turn off the mobile network option of their smartphones or tablets. Enable the Wi-Fi option with a pre-saved password and let them enjoy the internet, for free, as long as they want.

  • Teach them the wonders of Google
  • Make sure your grandparents know where to find what they’re searching for on the internet or learn how to discover the meaning of a technical term they come across while using the computer. Search a term on Google to show them how it’s done.

  • Simplify display interface
  • The elderly can easily get confused or overwhelmed with the complexity of a device’s display or user interface, especially in desktop computers and laptops. To ‘senior-proof’ this, you can set which items to display in the home screen or desktop such as the internet browser, games, instant messengers and photos.

  • Get them gadget cases
  • There are various types of gadget cases available in the market. These cases have become an accessory of sorts for smartphones and tablets but its purpose has always been for better grip and gadget protection.

  • Accessibility functions
  • The accessibility option in iPhones is a big selling point for senior users. The iOS software offers features that allow for larger text (make text larger in the calendar, contacts, mail, messages and notes), voice over (speaks items on the screen), zoom (magnifies the entire screen), custom vibrations (assign unique vibration patterns to contacts), AssistiveTouch (allows you to use the phone if you have difficulty touching the screen). Turn these features on for senior users to help them utilize their iPhones properly.

  • Facebook is not just for “Likes” and Candy Crush

Facebook, in its simplest form, is a social networking site that promises to connect friends and family from all over the world. Apart from teaching the seniors to ‘Like’ stuff and finish a tough level on Candy Crush, help them reconnect with old friends and relatives by teaching them how to search friends. Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays are more meaningful when they can tag the photos of their old buddies and long lost relatives.