BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — One Pew Research Center study revealed that 41 percent of older adults, continue to lag behind younger adults when it comes to using and understanding technology.
One company offered a hand to try and bridge the gap.
“You’re never too old to learn. Don’t you ever think you know it all,” said Baton Rouge resident Betty Butler.
The 64-year-old grew up with just a typewriter to do some of her work and came in contact with her first computer in the early 2000s as a teacher.
“I was familiar with old typewriters and I was just hitting it on the computer, trying to hit the space to get something to zip. And it was a student who was sitting by me and said, ‘You don’t have to do that. You just hit that button and it automatically moves.’ I was like, ‘Wow,'” Butler explained.
Things have changed rapidly since that time.
“The first computer I had was a big bulky one, like the TV screen, which is like a TV monitor. When that computer went out on me I got a flat screen,” she said.
To help bridge the digital gap, AT&T has hosted senior citizen digital literacy classes across the state, including in North Baton Rouge with Butler and her peers.
“It’s showing them how to go online, use a search engine, how to use tips and tricks to use that effectively, and understand what’s a secure website and what’s an open, regular browser,” said AT&T Louisiana Director Stephanie Doiron. “We were walking them through how you open up a web browser, how do you start to type in a search and get the information back, move backward and forward…”
According to Connect Louisiana, just here in East Baton Rouge Parish, about 50,000 people don’t understand how to use the internet. That’s nearly 20% of the population, and many of them are senior citizens
In communities where resources are already difficult to access, these skills can be crucial.
“All of our citizens across Louisiana need to go online to meet with their doctors, get assistance from different types of programs, and just to be able to communicate with their family members,” explained Doiron.
“I think it’s a great thing for people to take out time to assist seniors because a lot of seniors have no skills in computer or typing. Everything is going electronic now in applications for everything and you have to go online,” added Butler.
Anyone 60 years old and older can attend these sessions. You can speak with your aging council to see if they are participating in these sessions or you can click here to explore the content and material covered in the class.