Baby Boomers and Technology
From those I know personally, they either avoid technology at all costs or are very comfortable with it. Baby boomers have to get a basic knowledge because a lot of everyday life includes having to know some basics about technology. A couple of weeks ago I had to go to the Social Security office, and in order to get your call ticket, you had to put in some information. My dad would have been totally lost, and by himself, he would have gone up to one of the windows for help. Baby boomers and technology is a must in order to remain independent, in today’s world.
For me, this baby boomer and technology was a perfect fit–well almost, LOL I totally embraced it. For over 20 years I’ve been online. Back when it was AOL and if you went over your allotted time, you got charged by the minute. Thank goodness I have a very loving husband and he never really complained about our AOL bill. All aspects of computers fascinated me. I could get so lost and would be so disappointed that there weren’t more hours in the day. Our girls, till this day, call me either a nerd or a computer geek. Hey, I have been called worse.
I am self-taught. I even went online—in the underground days. Talk about creepy. I made good friends, but I also encountered some truly odd and strange people. Some, even on the creepy side. And that’s all I’ll say about them. LOL For some baby boomers, they bought some of the earlier, available home computers–those that could afford it, that is.
Laptops & Computers
The first computer I owned, I believe was around $2000. I did one of those rental stores contracts because we couldn’t afford to buy a computer outright. And, yes, I know, we wound up paying way too much! But I really wanted a computer. LOL
Laptops and computers are present in most of our homes today. And if you don’t own one, your local library has computers you can use there. Even when us boomers didn’t have PC’s in our homes, a good majority of us had to learn how to use them at work. It was either learn or be out of a job.
It is said that about 76% to 81% of us boomers, go online, daily. That higher percentage being those of the younger boomers mostly looking for employment or looking up travel destinations. LOL, and in between those 2, we also spend a bit of our online time, searching information on hobbies. I have done that a lot with crocheting–also self-taught. And what would we do without YouTube?? My husband uses it a lot. He’s worked on many cars after watching YouTube videos. Usually on how to replace something, or getting to something in order to replace it.
Many of baby boomers have finally come use to socializing online. In the beginning, many boomers were leary. Not me, I loved it. Being a stay at home mom, with 3 girls, I often felt isolated, and the social aspect of going online was extremely welcoming. And I will be honest, a little scary as well. The variety of people we engage with today is huge! We can now become friends with people that share the same hobbies/ideas/interests/etc.. and they can live across the globe from where you are. I’ve made many friends. New Zealand, Austrailia, Canada, and Africa, to name a few.
Many boomers became involved in getting online, as a way to keep up with their children and grandchildren. For some of us, even
great-grandchildren. But the internet made it easy for us to find childhood friends, elementary/junior/high school friends, as well as college friends, to name just a few. My husband connected with a few of his buddies, that were on the same ship as he, USS Coral Sea, when he was in the Navy. I remember that being a very exciting time, at least for me. I grew up a service brat and was connecting with old friends from New York, Alaska, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Florida. It was fun to catch up and see where we were now in our older years!! I have one friend, in New York, that I have known for 50 years!!
Oh and let’s not forget all the games you can play online!!! From farming to bingo!! Us boomers enjoy spending at least 15-20 minutes a day playing some sort of game. And most do so while drinking our morning coffee. Those, that aren’t into playing games, are usually catching up on social media, and/or reading the news!! I have read where 1 in 4 baby boomers plays a game at least once a day on their PC/laptop/smartphone/tablet. We have too much time on our hands. No kids to run after. LOL
I remember when we first got a house phone. I believe I was around 9 years old. And it was the coolest thing ever! I was just taken by the fact that my father, in Alaska, could call Granny Rainey, who lived in Florida, and we’d all take turns conversing with her. Of course not for long though, after all the call was long distance, and those fees could rack up quickly. Remember waiting till after 7:00 PM to call long distance when the rates went down? Or waiting for the weekends when the rates went even lower? I do. I remember paying those phone bills once I was out and on my own. And those long distance charges were insane!
I’m originally from Brooklyn, NY and when my dad got stationed to Juneau, Alaska, I got introduced to the ‘party line.’ Another invention that had this city kid, listening to many other peoples phone calls. The neighbors just loved me!! Do you remember the prank phone call?
Today, almost everyone has a cell phone of some sort. And many of those phones are smartphones. Smartphones are GREAT! They’re for more than just calling, also for texting and checking your email. Then there is GPS! I think only our oldest daughter remembers when the TomTom first came out. If it were not for my smartphone, my trips to Florida, from Indiana would have taken way longer. Oh, and let’s not forget, that woman that speaks on your GPS–we named our’s Valerie, she tends to get us lost, often. So see, computers are far from perfect. *smiles*
Currently today, it is believed that about 5.5 billion searches are done on Google, each day. That equals to about 63,000 searches per second!! And it is stated that 88% of those searches are done from smartphones. And 84% are from tablets/laptops/computers. The most popular in those searches are business hours, restaurants and their menus, hotel/car/air reservations, where they can buy a particular item and let’s not forget on customer reviews. I am an avid researcher on anything I’m contemplating on buying. Especially if it is something really expensive!! And I always hunt for customer reviews. As I have stated several times in past articles, I have found that reviews on a company’s website, by customers, tend to not always be truthful. So I go off the company site and read a lot of customer reviews because usually, a customer will only write a review if something goes wrong with the said item. But, that is my way of thinking.
Baby boomers also enjoy texting! It is said that we like texting, because it is fast, and we can get straight to the point. Many studies I have read showed that the younger baby boomers enjoy texting the most, out of the entire baby boomer generation. (the baby boomer generation is over 73 million boomers!)
Might I add how we love our games! More than half of us boomers, that use a smartphone, play games. There are so many games out there. I am guilty of the simulation games. But they also have games such as poker, and you can go online and bet real money. I’ve played this a couple of times, luckily I’m not big on gambling. But there is just about a game out there for all gamers! My husband started off with solitaire and has since progressed to some golf game, that he’s been playing for a while.
Although some baby boomers use their smartphones as debit/credit cards, most prefer to use their actual cards. But the fact that you can do so much on your smartphone and do it from anywhere, well who would want to be without one?? Let’s not mention the many apps that you can get for your smartphone as well. One to help you keep track of your mileage–need to turn that in to get reimbursed for it from work. Then you have to do lists, calendars, shopping, finances/banking, fitness workouts, walking, planners. calendars, wearable technology, diet, weight loss, the cheapest gas prices, music, video and so much more! It’s simply incredible what you can do with a smartphone these days!!
There, in the beginning, I got so caught up in the evolution of the smartphone, that I could not wait for my contract to be up so I could get the latest and greatest new cellphone/smartphone. I have even used someone else’s upgrade to get me the latest smartphone. I was hooked-bad! Finally, as smartphones began to level out, meaning they have pretty much topped out, that I have settled and am very happy with my Samsung S8. It can do everything I need it to do. And if it can’t, well I can usually find an app, that will let me do what it is I want to do. I prefer my android because there OS allows you to customize your phone, exactly how you want it.
I read where about 57% of baby boomers own tablets. And that 63% of us prefer the Facebook platform the most. Personally, I think I need to find a new group of friends because there is an awful lot of complaining, that is posted on Facebook these days, that I am so tired of seeing it. Lately, I have been spending more time on my business Facebook account.
I use my tablet mostly for the enjoyment of reading. I’ve always been an avid reader, till our girls got into school. I became very involved with organizations within their schools. Sports, band, Market Day, Book Fairs, Secret Santa, and not to mention homework, field trips, etc. And I had very little time for reading. When waiting for the bus, after an away game, I would catch up on reading, but that was about it. Then my husband bought me my first tablet. And once again my love for reading was re-ignited! As well as the girls got their drivers license, so didn’t need mom carting them around anymore. It was around this time that I went back to work too.
I really like that I can change the font size on my Kindle. I’m usually ok during the day. But late at night, when I do most of my reading, my eyes tend to be tired and I have to up the font size a wee bit.
I know a lot of baby boomers that play their games on their tablet. But also on their Ipad or Kindle! I prefer my phone, it’s smaller and easier for me to hold. It weighs less too.
As baby boomers aged, some of us took an approach at becoming more healthy. And wearable technology became very popular. Whether it be an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or some other fitness tracking device, it allows you to count your steps taken, stairs climbed, calories burned, heart rate, diet tracker and your sleep schedule. I think that is totally awesome!! I like that my Fitbit has alarms that I can set to remind me when to take my meds, feed my baby Mojo, and when it’s bedtime. Oh, and it does try and wake me in the morning–keyword being ‘try’. LOL My Fitbit vibrates when an alarm goes off. It needs to do more than that to wake me in the morning.
Wearable technology not only helps us boomers track our fitness but our health issues as well. They can follow your cardiac health, potential health problems, as well as emergency alerts. I think their pretty neat gadgets.
The Bottom Line
For the majority of the baby boomer generation, we have embraced today’s technology. Many of us had to deal with some form of technology at work and had to have some sort of knowledge or training on it.
Many of us have learned how to use today’s devices from our children. I’m that way when it comes to Microsoft Excel. I never had the need to use it, ever, until I returned to the workforce after our children were off doing their own thing. I didn’t know how to use a fax machine until 2013. Talk about feeling like a fool. All my younger co-workers had no problem. I had to be shown several times. LOL, I believe that because I wasn’t very interested in sending faxes, to people I did not know, I wasn’t retaining what I learned. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. LOL What’s that song/saying? That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it?
Many of us were lucky, and our employers paid for us to be trained, mainly computers, but also on software, etc. I remember my dad, being sent to Texas, by the USCG, to be trained at IBM, for word processing.
The majority of baby boomers owns a smart device today. There are still some baby boomers out there that prefer to ‘live off the grid’. We have 2 friends, brothers in fact, that chose to have nothing to do with technology. One works on a computer all day long and has for his whole career, so I can understand why. As for his brother, he just doesn’t want anyone to know his business. Which is fine. Heck, until recently Stevie Nicks was completely off the grid. Although it’s becoming harder and harder to do that today.
The numbers below, I got from a study that was completed for the year of 2017. I’ve looked and looked for one for this year, and the ones I found didn’t give me the kind of information I was looking for. And, really, this year still has at least 6 weeks to go!
Averages of ownership among baby boomers:
- 68.7% of baby boomers own a smartphone
- 61.7 of baby boomers own a laptop
- 61% of baby boomers own a desktop computer
- 42% of baby boomers own a tablet
- 22.3% of baby boomers have a house phone
- 22.7% of baby boomers own an e-reader
- 12.3% of baby boomers own a wearable technology device (Apple watches, Fitbits, etc.)
- 7% of baby boomers own home assistant
I averaged these numbers that I got from Statista.
*Baby boomers were born between the years of 1946 and 1964 (FYI)
Age is a high price to pay for maturity. – Tom Stoppard