Why Your Grandparents Don't Like the Internet

by xnite

Today we live in a world where technology is all around us.

While most of us know this, there are many people who still ignore it and refuse to use it.  During my days as an outbound call representative (a fancy term for a telemarketer), I called up many older men and women who had never even heard of the Internet, and those who did were afraid to use it.

I decided to use my position to somewhat of an advantage to gain some research on the situation.  My findings were fairly common, but some of the results may shock you, or at least confirm that which you have already thought to be true.

A common fear that these people expressed was about things that they have heard about in the news pertaining to hackers and "Anonymous."  They feared that simply by accessing the Internet, they would instantly become vulnerable and that their personal information would be placed online for the whole world to see.  While few mentioned "Anonymous" by name, the way they worded their fears as based on news clippings, you could tell that this was a generalization of their fear of the collective.

Another fear that people expressed was that they may have their bank accounts stolen, or identity stolen in general.  They would express a fear that simply connecting their computer to the Internet would allow access to their physical filing cabinet.  While unrealistic, it's very hard to convince these people that this simply cannot happen.

Aside from identity theft, people who generally do not use the Internet are concerned that people over share on websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and stated that we rely on these services too much.  Many times I would tell a customer that they did not need to use such services if they did not want to, but they could simply read to their heart's desire on websites such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc., to which they would say something like "Yes, but I cannot believe anything out there on the Internet because hackers could have put that up - I would rather get my news from the radio or TV."

My studies showed that, as the Internet grows, there will still be naysayers, and not because they are old, but because they are afraid.  I think that as the Internet grows, so should the population using it.  It's time that we inform our parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts about how the Internet really is a good thing, and how they can stay safe and protected on it.  My girlfriend's grandmother is in her eighties and we just got her on the Internet a couple of months ago.  She now loves the Internet and even enjoys reading people's blogs and watching YouTube!

Please, if you have a story to tell after convincing your elders to get online, email it to me at Internet4TheElderly@xnite.org.