‘No matter how old we are, we do need a purpose for getting up in the morning’

An inspiring initiative called Cyber-Seniors, explores through a series of short films how teenagers can make an impact into the life of older people by providing lessons on how to ‘surf the web’ to initially resistant seniors.

Showing how important intergenerational exchange can be to help bridge the tech gap for older people, connecting them to a world that they never even knew existed.

 

Two sisters Kascha and Macaulee Cassaday started the community program eight years ago. Which was prompted after seeing how the internet, Skype in particular allowed them to stay in regular contact with their grandparents who lived some distance away. They knew that if they could create a program so that other seniors had the opportunity to access the internet they too could be exposed to the benefits over what the internet had to offer. Once the program started to gain momentum and significant interest in the community they decided to create a film about their important efforts, creating awareness and encouraging others to get involved to help bridge the generation gap created by technology. As one of the Cyber-Senior students put it ever so nicely ‘No matter how old we are, we do need a purpose for getting up in the morning.’

The typical “Cyber-Senior” student is aged between seventy-seven and ninety-three years old. With the program taught over a series of weeks, which includes lessons on how to access Youtube, Facebook and Skype. In this class the roles have reversed and the teachers are the ‘teenagers’. During the first session one of the Cyber- Senior students who was trying to comprehend social media asked for clarification

Throughout the series you see the seniors faces light up with such interest by what they have discovered. They even start competing against one another to produce creative YouTube video to upload of themselves in the hope to get the most views. Marian one of the Cyber-Senior students takes first place with her “Funny Rapping Granny” clip achieving 74,902 views. With one of the other seniors posted a YouTube video on how to grill cheese with an iron – this reached 36,177 views.

 

For these Cyber-Senior students it is evident that these classes enriched their lives through such a simply exercise. It’s an inspiring initiative and providing there are people in the community willing to invest the time classes similar to this can help keep seniors connected with their friends, family and the community and most importantly keep their minds active. Proving it’s never too late to learn how to use the Internet—so perhaps you could spend your Sunday teaching granny or grandpa how to ‘surf the web’.

Benefits Seniors Using Technology

1. Keep in touch with family and friends who live some distance away or if they are physically restricted

2. Allows them to have daily contact with family that may have their own busy schedules

3. Minimises the risks of social isolation by staying connected socially

4. Encourages them to connect socially which can help seniors who feel isolated

5. Positively improve quality of life by deepening social networks

6. Stay current with frequent news updates on world events, and provides topic of conversation when socialising

7. By developing online interests it can given them something to look forward.

Do you know of any programs in Australia where teens provide technology classes for older people? We would love to hear about it. Or perhaps you could share a story you may have had with yourself or your parents accessing the internet

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