Monday, December 9, 2013

We Can Master Technology (thanks Google!)

Wait- My Gifts Are Getting Smaller

In 8th grade, I got a Walkman for Christmas. I carried it around (being careful not to move too vigorously lest the CD skip) and jammed out. This was incredible, I thought, I can listen to music anywhere. When I was in 10th grade, I got my very first mp 3 player This was amazing, I thought, I no longer have to carry around a pack of CDs! I did notice a trend- as I got older my gifts became less numerous and they were a lot smaller in size. My parents were paying a lot more money for fewer products- but they were just so cool!

It is easy to have mixed feelings about the effects of technology because like anything else, there are pros and cons. It is indisputable however; that technology is the way of the future and that it can accomplish some pretty amazing things.

Our Families and Their Futures

Our youth and young adults have grown up in arguably the most innovative and technologically driven decades in our nation’s history. 70% of the jobs that will be available to our youth when they graduate high school do not even exist yet. These jobs will likely be in Computer Information and Technology (IT), since IT jobs are expected to grow 22% through 2020- the year our eighth graders graduate high school.

It is to our advantage that we make the effort to ensure that our youth are prepared for their future. They need exposure to technology in and outside of school.

It may be difficult to keep up with all of the advances and changes; but we as adults must learn with our kids. How else can we make sure that their experiences and time with computers, the internet, and other devices is constructive?

Don’t forget about grandma and grandpa- they need to be connected too. There is a technology generation gap; where our youth are eager adopters of technology but their grandparents are bewildered by their “obsession” with these gadgets.

But our grandparents may be feeling left behind. If they want to look something up, the internet is the place to go. If they want to speak to their grandchildren, it might be easier to text them. If they want to look for jobs, nearly all applications are online.

Fortunately, there is a growing movement toward helping our grandparents get connected. Training them to harness the powers of technology improves their social engagement, health and well-being, and opportunities for creativity, learning, and activism.

What We Can Accomplish

The South Franklin Community Center has partnered with Google to start its own technological initiative in southwest Provo. With a donation from Google, we now have the ability to provide the opportunity to use a computer and the internet. We have an open computer lab Monday-Thursday from 5:00 to 6:30.* Our youth and adults are already learning; they have set up email accounts, practiced their typing skills, and learned how to research information online.

As families grow together toward mastering technology they can accomplish incredible things.

Making a difference has gone digital. Online campaigns and donations are the way of our future. Millennials (our youngest generation) are already making an impact online- one young adult used cat memes to raise over $60k for animals with disabilities.

We can create positive impact in our community; especially with the power of the internet. We encourage you to start adventure today by finding volunteer opportunities or donating online. A good place to start is the South Franklin Community Center website!

We wish you a joyful giving season and skill in figuring out your new electronic devices. You can do it!

- (The computer lab will be closed from December 16th to January 5th). 
- Sources: Older Adults Technology Services. National Public Radio. ComputerWorld. A Platform for Good. 

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