Technology and my grandparents

Sep. 10, 2013 @ 05:07 AM

First, and foremost, I have to lead with full disclosure.

I am not a tech guy.

Granted, here at The Daily Courier, I serve that role because of a lack of options.

I can tell you how to turn your machine on and how to fix the Internet connection if it is lost. I also handle our website functions and help other papers in the state with the same thing.

But, outside of newspaper technology, I am not the most well-versed.

So, imagine how I feel when my grandfather asks me about laptops and whether to pull the trigger on getting a new one.

I am more than happy to help but I am always afraid that I will inadvertently give the wrong information and mistakenly lead my grandparents down the wrong path.

This situation came up on Sunday when I made my regular call to Kansas to visit and catch up.

My grandfather, a retired engineer at Boeing, probably has more technological knowledge in his little finger than I do completely.

I sometimes think he asks just to include me … which is very thoughtful.

Nonetheless, he asked about purchasing a new laptop for him and my grandmother to use. In another act of full disclosure, I don’t think my grandmother has anything to do with the computer, but I digress.

He had gone to a big store and asked about different laptops to purchase and had some information he wanted me to decipher.

Basically, my grandparents check their email and Facebook on a regular basis and, to the best of my knowledge, that is about it.

So he told me what he was looking at and I responded by simply telling him he did not need every bell and whistle or the latest and greatest because the technology would be outdated before he opened the box.

I said he would need something very simple and he agreed.

Then came the secondary caveat … they may be moving to a new community in the near future. This community has it all: valet service, dining, community activities for residents and … and this is the most important part … a computer lab with all the amenities. Knowing that, we came to the agreement that a purchase of a new laptop was not necessary at all. That made me feel better because I didn’t feel like I was telling them to make a purchase of something they either didn’t need or wouldn’t use.

After getting off the phone, I started to think about my grandparents and technology.

We often take for granted just how much older people know about computers, the Internet and yes, even Facebook.

I think my grandparents know a lot more about it than they lead on.

For me, that is comforting because of the distance between us. The technology allows us to be in contact whether there is a phone present or not.

I am glad they have embraced technology and all its advantages without being bogged down by the enormity of it all.

Now, if I could just get my grandfather to upload that profile picture …


Matthew Clark is the editor of The Daily Courier. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TDCMatt.