“Please don’t get annoyed but I have another question,” a frantic 7 AM phone call from my mother. “When I go to your Facebook profile, I see which school and college you went to. I want to update information like this on my Facebook, too. How does one do that?”
This is quite the usual start to my day. Technology questions by the mother dearest. My mother must be thanking heavens that I’m a teacher and a rather patient one, at that.
Well, disclaimer, I’m not tech-savvy. Nope, not at all. But you know what comes to my aid? Google! Most of my answers are usually found on the first page of my Google search. When I tell my mother this, she becomes perplexed. She comes of the opinion that I’m lying… And why wouldn’t she? When she googles anything, she ends up on the ‘Play Rummy and win 1,00,000 rupees’ page. So when I make Google sound so easy, she is bound to think it’s some magic I’m at.
Plenty of times I catch myself thinking about what exactly must she be going through. Not just her, but also my father and just about anybody else from that ‘generation’. What is it that makes it so complex for them, but is like an easy deal for me?
In this day and age, when we are exposed to and stimulated by so much information, right from when we were children, we are wired to think, behave and react in a certain way.
We haven’t experienced a different life. We haven’t looked for meanings in an actual physical dictionary — so complex, oh my God. We were born as a blank slate, and technology is filling that blank slate with all things new and modern. Whereas, our parents are struggling to make space for the ‘new’ on their already full slate.
The problem is, our parents were exposed to ‘modernity’ and technology at the same time, at the same pace, as we were. The comprehension, however, is not the same, and the pace at which both these groups comprehend information does not match.
The end result, frantic 7 AM phone calls from mothers to their daughters and sons for questions on how a screenshot is taken followed by sighs and irritation.
It is quite revealing that we, many a time, fail to see how privileged we are to be in our shoes. The grass is perhaps greener on our side this time, maybe? Aren’t we truly fortunate to figure out fake news from the real one? Aren’t we in a favourable condition to know when not to click on ‘Click here to know more’?
The millennial life is, sure, full of luxury, and I’m not sure we value this luxury as much as we must. We are well aware of how the troll army works and know very well how to avoid it. We have knowledge about the limited authenticity of news that travels through WhatsApp forwards and Facebook images. We have vocabulary which helps us understand the new age lingo, but our parents would [un]fortunately never understand FOMO.
We would know better than to trust a very friendly gentleman asking us to invest money in a particular (non-existent) fund and, on the other hand, we know how secure online banking really can be.
Imagine having to live a life where, owing to our ‘already full’ slate, we end up trusting this ‘friendly gentleman’ and not the virtual banking app. Imagine having to believe information that media, any sort of media, puts on your plate because that’s how it used to be in the earlier times.
I bet it’s not easy to make these frantic phone calls to children to ask ‘really simple, silly’ questions and getting annoyance for an answer. Can we just take a moment, stop and think?
Our parents have always relied on humans — for directions, information or help of any nature. Technology came into their lives at a much much later stage. At a stage where they were very used to and comfortable with a life devoid of it.
We, on the contrary, have not known a life without it. The old school way of life has now taken a backseat and so have our parents, along with that. Our parents often hear statements like, “You won’t understand it. Just let it be,” “How can you not understand this?! It is as simple as an alphabet!” or “I really don’t have the time or patience for this. This is too damn silly”. Ouch.
Little do we know that the solution to this situation lies with us. The level of awareness that we have today is unparalleled when put it with that of our parents. We know where to head to when we have to find something for convenience, and our parents head to us.
This is a cry for help from a generation that is quite stuck between the age-old and the ultra-modern. For not just to the spoken, but also, the unspoken. We say, “just follow the steps given,” but it lands them on pages that want their money. So they would rather look silly and ask for your help than look silly and get duped.
But we do know.
We know a great deal, and it is indeed us who are the torchbearers of this technological advancement that the world now houses. We must take it forward. But not just that. We must take everybody else along with us — which includes a generation of ‘not knowers’. We must lend a helping hand to those who are struggling, to those who want to transcend from ‘not knowers’ to the ‘knowers’ — just like our parents did when we were once the ‘not knowers’ in this strange, strange world.
The generation gap is one thing. Our level of understanding them, and efforts in understanding their concerns is another. The latter is the real problem. We don’t wish to go an extra mile to make them aware of the things we are privileged of knowing. And the problem expands.
So, the next time you get your 7 AM phone call, be a little more aware that you hold privileges to this world of technology along with being the torchbearer for the future (or should I say older?) generations to come.
Crafted with brevity for select stories to make certain you see what others don't; Page One is delivered every Sunday
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