It’s never too late to join the digital world

julie1Times they are a’changing and as my mother Rose would say “one has to keep up!” There’s no denying that technology has become a way of life for most people these days. My mother, who will be 70 years old this October, jumped into the digital world this summer by purchasing her first smartphone!

Look at her face, she is completely chuffed with herself.

It took three years of living with us (we have a full house with two tween girls, our dog and hubby) and our constant encouragement for her to use a smartphone before she decided to do it. My father likes to stay home and mum was unable to keep in contact with him while she was out and about, her new smartphone has eliminated that problem.

Since mum has had her phone, we’ve enjoyed butt-dialed phone calls, odd texts with oh-so-many emojis and repeated questions on how to use it. Over time I realized that I’m not the best teacher when it comes to technology. I’m adept at using it, but have difficulty (and a lack of patience) when trying to verbalize how.

Thankfully I have two tween daughters who are masters at smartphones and have a level of calm that I lack. I put it down to the fact that they’re students all day and they can predict her questions without assuming she knows the basics.

julie2The girls have spent time learning from TELUS WISE seminars and resources, and as a customer for over 20 years, I am grateful for the free learning they’ve received from experts. They’ve learned about online security and safety and also about the lasting effect their online behaviour can have. The risks may seem different between a senior and tweens, but they’re actually not and by understanding them, the user is empowered to safely spend time online.

The girls have spent time with my mum, teaching her all that they’ve learned and mum seems to be understanding more and more each day. She’s now answering the phone when we call, texting and surfing the web comfortably knowing that she now has the knowledge to do so safely.

Some of the tips mum finds the most valuable are:

  • Use strong passwords that cannot be guessed by anyone else. A good password is at least eight characters long and includes numbers, letters and symbols.
  • Try not to share too much personal information online. Mum didn’t quite understand that everyone could see her public posts on social media until the girls explained it.
  • Not to click or download anything from sites that aren’t reputable. The girls explained the risks involved when suspicious links are clicked and how malware gives access to your files and information.

In addition to the TELUS WISE programs that my girls have participated in, TELUS WISE has created a new program to help seniors navigate the web. The TELUS WISE seniors program is free-of-charge for all Canadian seniors and will help those who are already using the Internet learn more about Internet and smartphone safety. You can download the guide online or book a workshop for the seniors in your life. The guide is perfect for mum! Soon she’ll be able to teach the girls something new! Maybe even me too!

Julie Elsdon-Height is the creator of Sober Julie.com where you’ll find that this funky blogger takes the tired, unappetizing reputation about sobriety and turns it into a day at the circus.

Jam-packed with ideas for food & drink recipestravel tips and reviewsreal stories of recoverytips for sobrietyreflections on life and tons of ideas for leading a better (more creative, more enjoyable) life.