How Smart is Your Smart Phone?

The other day I could not help but overhear two Boomer women telling a salesclerk (also a Boomer) that it will be a long time before either of them gives in to using a smart phone. “I don’t want people phoning me all the time,” they chimed. The salesclerk interjected, “Ah, but folks could email or text you.” These Boomer customers were not impressed. They were not interested in receiving emails from people and even less interested in getting text messages.

My husband, who is a late wave Boomer, carries a cell phone for emergency purposes only — and because our children and I would not stop nagging him about it! He purchased data in May, only because a trip home to Scotland for his father’s funeral meant that he would need to be able to access the Arrive Can App in order to re-enter Canada.

When all the family is at home and around the dinner table, Richard and the kids (now young adults) even have contests to see who can find the answer to a question on some issue or historical event, Richard using our hard cover encyclopaedia and the kids using their cell phones. Interestingly, Richard wins a lot of the time, as long as the event in question does not precede 2001, the year my Dad died. The encyclopaedia were his final gift to our children, but in fact are used much more by Richard and me. (Note, too, the presence of cell phones at the dinner table. That is something we would never have been permitted to use as Boomer children, even if such technology had existed then.)

I recently read an article that highlighted the fact that every generation adapts to technology differently. Usually Baby Boomers are thought of as Technology Immigrants, since they were in their late twenties to mid-forties when they started using a PC, whereas those in Generations Y and Z are Technology Natives since they never knew a world without computers and cell phones. They grew up with the internet. My youngest son, who is Generation Z, does virtually everything on his smart phone. When a senior in high school, he even wrote a two-hundred page screenplay entirely on his cell phone.

But while there are definitely some technology hold outs in the Boomer and older adult demographic, I have to say how impressed I am generally by my Boomer — and especially by friends in their late eighties — who often send me text messages or message me on Facebook. And in the Church I notice that it’s not just the young who use their cell phones to read scripture in worship or at weddings or funerals, but more and more of my Boomer friends and colleagues rely on their smart phones for this purpose. Even Richard and I will sometimes FaceTime our son and daughter-in-law in Kuwait using our smart phone — although they always have to remind us not to hold the phone up to our ear when we do so! (I guess our smart phone is only as smart as we are!)

How smart is your smart phone? How comfortable are you with modern technology? And what do you see as it’s pros and cons? I would love to hear from you!

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