Desmond White leads a very modern life, riding his bike around inner-city Newcastle, where he lives on his own in a fifth-storey apartment overlooking the wharf.
- The Australia Talks survey found 96 per cent of Australians use a smartphone
- 62 per cent of Australians spend between one and six hours a day on their devices, the survey found
- Most people think technology is making life better in Australia
But the 93-year-old was unimpressed when he recently became the owner of an iPhone.
“I had one of the old traditional phones, which was misbehaving. All callers — and I’ve got a lot of callers — would say ‘what’s up with your phone, what’s wrong with your phone?'” he said.
Optus offered Mr White a new phone and he agreed, but he was surprised to find it was an iPhone that arrived in the mail.
“I was expecting one like the old-fashioned stuff,” he said.
Suddenly, Mr White, who once presided over a successful tyre business, found himself unable to perform the previously simple task of making a phone call.
“Everybody promised — I’ve got grandkids and whatnot — to show me what to do with it,” he said.
With most of his family outside of the Newcastle area, Mr White turned to a computer club for older Novocastrians.
“I somehow managed to be able to make a call, and of course receive one … but it would be nice if I could do ever so much more, because I know it has so much to offer,” Mr White said.
“Some of them feel a little bit intimidated, feel a little bit upset because the world is changing so fast.
“It is scary, a lot of them are fearful.”
Tutors at the club say where once people would come in curious to explore this new frontier, they are now coming in because they have no choice.
With Australia moving towards a cashless economy, many people have found themselves caught out, unable to use internet banking.
Ms Keen said the generational gap was particularly glaring when younger people tried to help out.
“They [older people] say, ‘oh I asked my son, or my daughter or my grandson or granddaughter … and they say, ‘oh you do this, this and this, press this button, do that, that’s how you do it’,” she said.
“The person sitting there who hasn’t understood the vast difference in the language and all the terminology, and hasn’t seen that before, is suddenly thrown and they’re thinking, ‘I have no idea what that person did’.
“They go to replicate it later and they have no idea.”
Has technology made life better?
It has been more than a decade since Australians were introduced to smartphones, and the ABC’s Australia Talks survey found 96 per cent of people in the country now own one.
Not surprisingly though, the data shows the older you get, the less likely you are to have one.”
I, Uta, copied the above. This new technology I find very scary. I get the creeps when I am bombarded with terms like ‘the cashless society’! I am not 93 yet, I am ‘only’ 85. But I have very poor vision. The idea that in future I may have to use an iPhone does scare me no end. My husband Peter is very close to my age. However, he knows how to use a smartphone and keeps in touch with the children and he also accesses all the information about the children that is available on Facebook. He spends many hours a day on these gadgets. I find it very helpful that he can always give me information about family and friends. So far it worked out all right that I have to rely on Peter for all this information. I think to have to spend hours and hours on these gadgets to eventually get some valuable information is not a very efficent way to get to the news that is important to me. I think I prefer to keep in touch via email or a ‘normal’ phone call if person to person contact is not possible. So far I have been lucky in that person to person contact has still been possible a lot of the time. And occasionally I still get some beautiful emails! And I like the World Wide Web and WordPress!
“Tutors at the club say where once people would come in curious to explore this new frontier, they are now coming in because they have no choice.”
So this is what the tutors say! NO JOICE? I hope this is not true for me. I just do not feel like going to that ‘new frontier’ and spending the last bit of time that may be left to me with torturing my brain with new things that I feel I should not have to learn at this stage of my life!! Please understand, I am willing to adapt as much as possible to new things that are necessary for instance to cope with climate change, but somehow I feel that new frontier technology I should not have to be confronted with . . . .