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Navigating the New Digital World

October 26, 2020

Love it or hate, technology is now part of our daily lives more than ever. With the pandemic limiting in-person contact, everything this year, from telemedicine to shopping to social interaction, has moved online.

If you can remember when landlines and letters were the primary ways to keep in touch, you may find this new focus on technology challenging. However, like most things in life, overcoming tech hurdles just takes patience, practice and a willingness to learn.

First, know that it's OK to ask for help.
When you learned to drive a car, did you jump on the highway on day one? No. You took time to get to know the car. Learn the controls. Figure how to make it start and stop. Likely, someone was in the car with you, helping you.

It's the same thing with technology. The first time you get a new smartphone or try a new banking app or social media site, start slow. Take the tour or watch the videos, if available. Better yet, have someone who's already familiar with it show you how to use it.

Next, take steps to bridge the digital divide.
There are a couple different ways you can get up to speed on new tech, depending on your learning style.

Prefer in-person training? Find a tutor. It could be someone you know who's good with tech – a neighbor, grandkid or friend. You can even reciprocate by teaching them a "real-world" lesson, like how to plant a garden or cook dinner, for example. If you don't know anyone who's good with tech, call for help. Most apps, sites or devices provide tech support.

Like to learn on your own? Google it. (That's what the kids do!) If you feel comfortable searching online, you can find an answer to pretty much anything on the internet, from step by step how-to instructions to tutorial videos.

Finally, remember why you're using the tech.
Though it can be frustrating at first, the role of technology is to simplify your life and help you stay connected socially when you need to be physically distant. The good news is the more you use it, the easier it will get.

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