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Technology is advancing faster than ever, and it is not unusual for anyone – not just the over 50s – to feel as though they are being left behind.  Many people will confess to being technophobic (having a fear or dislike of new technologies or complex devices), even though they have probably embraced some aspects of modern technology.  Every week sees new versions of smartphones, computers and various other gadgets coming onto the market.  With so much choice it can be difficult to work out what each item is capable of, or how it can make life easier.  It doesn’t help that younger people seem to pick up the technology so easily, but we should all recognise that new technology can be of benefit in many areas of life.


Disadvantages of being a technophobe


The workplace can be so much harder if the thought of using modern technology is off-putting.  Most jobs now require the use of computer skills to some extent, and while most employers provide on-the-job training, they are more likely to hire a worker who has some technological know-how.  Increasingly, many workplaces outsource their computer-related development and staff training to IT consulting firms, and rely on them to deal with any issues that arise.


For older generation technophobes, keeping up with the grandchildren can be a struggle.  Children are attracted to all kinds of modern gadgets, such as computer games and iPods, and not being able to help or involve yourself with them can be difficult for those who place some importance on bonding.


The benefits of modern technology


Social networking is all the rage, and it has become a highly convenient way to keep in touch with family and friends.  Anyone not making use of it is therefore at a disadvantage.  There is nothing particularly difficult about logging on and sending someone a message (and receiving their reply) through use of a simple emailing program.  In past times, moving away from the family home often meant the risk of losing touch, but modern social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have changed all that.


Those who have opted for a smartphone or tablet computer can take advantage of apps (short for ‘applications’).  These are designed for a myriad of purposes, so supermarket shopping can be done while travelling on a bus, or news and weather reports can be read directly from the screen.  More than any other device, the mobile (or cellular) phone has revolutionised how people communicate.  For many years, the public telephone was the only option for someone away from the home or office, but no longer.  Anyone out and about can readily communicate with family and friends through their mobile/cell phone, either with a quick call, or through SMS text messaging.


It is now easier than ever to learn how to use a computer.  There are day or evening formal classes, but those who already have a computer can do so through self-learning.  There are many software packages available that walk the user through the various functions, and finding out how a computer operates is far easier than many people realise.  Simply ‘having a go at it’ is one way to move from technophobe to technophile.