What do you get when you pair up technologically native teens (who can get lost trying to dial a rotary phone) with older adults who want to be able to keep up with the world of smartphones and tablets and computers (but may not know where to begin)?
You get Cyber-Seniors—an innovative, community-based program that creates unexpected learning opportunities for both. According to their website, “over 49 million North American adults do NOT use technology in their day-to-day lives, whereas young people under the age of 25 grew up in a digital world and use technology in all aspects of their lives. Eliminating the digital divide allows intergenerational relationships to thrive and addresses the growing problem of social isolation amongst the elderly.”
We recently visited a Best Buy Teen Tech Center that hosts a Cyber-Seniors group, following a group of teen mentors and the seniors they work with to see how they work together to explore the evolving world of practical technology.
We sat down with several enthusiastic Cyber-Seniors to get their perspective on what it’s like to learn new skills at 70, 80, even 90(!) from teachers as young as 15. And we also spoke with Cyber-Seniors teen mentors about what working with the older generation teaches them.
Watch to see how this groundbreaking program is helping older adults:
- keep up with far-flung family,
- make friends old and new,
- discover new forms of recreation,
- harness and channel their creativity, and
- discover new ways to learn and socialize.
You’ll also meet some of the enthusiastic, dedicated, tech-savvy teen mentors who are eager to share their expertise.
These teens may have grown up with technology, and understand it as naturally as they breathe, but looking at it through the eyes of people who didn’t creates a whole new perspective. And it gives them the tools they’ll need to teach, train, and troubleshoot any generation after High School.
By 2020, the goal is to have 60 Best Buy Teen Tech Centers open and active across the United States and Mexico.