Thursday, January 12, 2006

Baby Boomers and Technology...Not the Best Match!

If you have parents or grandparents that have embraced the technological revolution that's been going on since the early 1990s, consider yourself one of the luck ones. More often than not, the baby boomer generation of which our parents are charter members aren't considered the most computer savvy group.

How many of us twenty or thirty-something adults have parents who have discovered the power of email within the last 3 years? Just when our colleagues and friends who have had an email account since 1992, finally grew out of the "forwarding-goofy-emails-with-attachments" phase, now our parents, great aunts and geriatric grandfathers are getting into the mix.

Don't get me wrong. I love my parents and relatives. They are responsible for molding the great person I am today and for that I am eternally grateful. But sending emails with "funny" attachments buried inside attachments which are buried inside yet another attachment isn't the cool thing to do anymore. If anything, it’s real cheesy and reaffirms the fact that the sender behind the forwarded email is six years behind the "internet 8-ball"! In effect, the sender is telling the recipient, "This new internet thing is the best! I wish email was around 10 years ago." Not real smooth.

Here is my solution to the problem:

Anyone over the age of 45 who has not emailed someone or used the internet for more than 10 hours in his or her lifetime should be given pass codes allowing them temporary access to the internet and email. (If you are between the ages of 18 and 45 and you still send them, then you should not be allowed to use a computer. Period.) The pass code activates a monitor which tracks their progress in learning the ins-and-outs and dos and don'ts of the World Wide Web. The monitor would allow only a set number of email faux paux by the user. If they send an email with one of those "funny" email attachments then a buzzer goes off notifying them of their transgression. If they exceed the preset number of email "no-nos" then a computer voice tells them,

"You have exceeded the acceptable number of email etiquette violations. The computer will now shutdown."

The user would need to wait a predetermined amount of time before attempting to send an email... say around 3 days. This would give the user ample time to reflect on their emailing infraction so as not to do it again.

Simple enough...but alas this will never happen.

We all have freedoms and these freedoms also encompass the internet and the computer illiterate individuals who use them. So, in all practicality, the best we can hope for is for all of us veterans of internet communication to get the word out to our parents and relatives reminding them that the act of emailing someone isn't "cool" anymore. It’s now a fact of life and mainstream, kind of like electricity.

So go get them an I-Pod or have them pod cast their messages. Now that would indeed be cutting least for another year or two!

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