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Is the web just for the young?

I was reading something the other day that suggested that all new technology is controlled by the young. They cited the example of text speak and how adults don’t understand that kind of thing. They also cited the usual cry of the technologically challenged that if they were a 12 year old they would be able to do it. I don’t agree with this idea.

It is true that young people like to make up languages so they can talk to each other without adults understanding, but this has always been true (as far as I understand it). It is also true that many (not all) young people understand technology that baffles a lot of adults. However isn’t it also true that young people often fiddle with technology a lot more than adults and that many young people don’t think of the consequences of what they do as much as adults do (that is they are far more confident around technology).

I have a 14 year old and a 12 year old and a 10 year old and a 7 year old living in my house and I know and awful lot more about technology and how to use it than they do. This is because I have to deal with it every day and they don’t. I fully admit that I’m not adept with a mobile phone but then I hardly every use one, if I did I would be know how to use it.

This brings me back to the web. Of course there are some things that suit the younger web user rather than the older one but that doesn’t mean that older people are less able to make use of the web. Young people do drive certain ideas and technology forwards as they use it more but this doesn’t mean that they have control over the technology.

In my experience the web is open to all both young and old. There are plenty of older web users that are involved in the development of its new tools and new directions. It is something of an outdated cliche to suggest that young people are the only ones who know about technology and the sooner we can get over this idea the better.

So the next time you are tempted to excuse your ignorance of something technical because you are not young please think again.

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