Unleashing the Power of Tech for Cyber-Seniors

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.

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49 thoughts on “Unleashing the Power of Tech for Cyber-Seniors

  1. Kay Pickus
    February 3, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Is any of this training available in Charleston wv yet???

  2. julie Brennan tolis
    February 6, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    I have an interest here but you state nothing about how to “get in board”. I am not tec savie but I know enough to have more information before jumping in.

  3. Jean
    February 7, 2020 at 4:59 am

    Thank you for helping us. What can we do for you? ❤️👍😊

  4. Jean
    February 7, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    Young people and older citizens…should never be separated! God designed the family system…and he was not wrong!

    1. Devorah Leah Adler
      October 7, 2020 at 12:58 am

      This cooperative learning is great. But we need to understand intergenerational differences in how we embrace technology. Based on my observations as an experienced technology trainer:
      Younger people experiment hands on with tech new to them where older people prefer written procedures to follow.
      Younger people see a procedure once and have it; older people need to practice and then synthesize small steps to remember a process.
      Younger people – possibly with more assertiveness and self centeredness – interrupt and request that their needs be met NOW, even if they phrase their request politely. Older people may not ask questions that would lead to mastering the skill because they don’t want to bother the other person, or feel uncomfortable not being in their former role of knowledgeable parent/teacher/boss.

      1. Anne Johnson
        October 23, 2020 at 5:00 pm

        As an older teacher/learner, I have always been a hands on learner. Different learning styles usually stay with you throughout life. The key is patience in pacing to the learner’s speed and discovering what works best with each person.

  5. Mary Lou
    February 9, 2020 at 10:51 pm

    Darn. I thought that tech-saavy seniors could teach tech-saavy teens about communication, life, and adaptation.

    1. Sue MacNichol
      March 23, 2020 at 10:08 pm

      I thought we elders got shorted in this article. Surely the kids could learn a thing or two from us. Bet this article was written by an under 40.

    2. Christina Breeze
      September 11, 2020 at 7:49 pm

      I will be 76 in November & I have used the Internet in my Business,Family here & Overseas. One never knows everything on here but we can always keep learning.

      1. Margaret Jackson
        October 25, 2020 at 7:23 pm

        How can a senior get involved? Is there a chapter in south suburbs of Chicago?

  6. Jorden elliott
    February 11, 2020 at 1:58 am

    This is exactly what I have been praying for! Please let me know how I can get this help!

    1. Mary Massie
      March 20, 2020 at 6:46 pm

      I am 93 and hearing+visually impaired, would like to get in contact with someone in my neighborhood who could help me with questions and small maintenance problems, such as putting new cartridges in my air printer, or re-connecting my Wi-fi after a power outage. I have macular degeneration and cannot see well enough to do some of these things on my own – Thanks!

      1. Linda
        August 13, 2020 at 2:37 pm

        Every State has a Vocational Rehab program that could get you help with technical things if you have vision impairment.
        Just google that for your state.
        My son used to work for them.

      2. L Bluebird
        August 22, 2020 at 3:32 am

        Call your local COUNTY OFFICE OF AGING… they can get you help also. Get someone to Google their number for you. If I knew what county & state you were in, I’d get the # for u.

    2. Christine Williams
      October 15, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      How can I get involved with the tech-savvy senior program? I am most eager to become involved.

  7. Paula Wargo
    February 11, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    This is Wonderful News..I have been asking this question for many years when I first brought my computer….The only help I could get was the Geek Squad…I would love to have a Teen Partner to teach me how to use my computer, an to buy an use a Smart Phone…I still have an old flip phone…an I know many other Seniors who also would like to learn ……What a Blessing…..When do we start….even at my age of 78 Im willing to still learn….

  8. Lucy Winder
    February 11, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    I am rightfully called a senior citizen as I was born in the year 1926 and enjoy using F/B every day. Think it a great idea to have the young teach us much more that can be used to further educate us about technology.

  9. Carolann Chambers
    February 23, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Great : How about putting some in Senior Centers and Community college : ?

  10. AVRIL GRECO
    February 28, 2020 at 10:28 am

    I am interested in joining a Teen Tech center at a Best Buy near me. I think this is a fabulous program and would like to know more. Location near to zip 06424, times to meet , cost and how to join. Thank you

    1. Anonymous
      August 10, 2020 at 5:38 am

      Isn’t 06424 zip code in East Hampton, CT? Just wondering, because it would be nice to have some kind of program like this for seniors in this area.

  11. James Hugg
    March 2, 2020 at 2:55 am

    Great idea!!! It works to help seniors, and gives young people a positive purpose. I only wish we had a Best Buy locally. Do you have a program in Iowa City.

    Jjhugger@mchsi.com

  12. Maria Martins
    March 2, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    How can I have more detail about this? It works in Boca Raton Fl?

  13. Sara J Peeler
    March 2, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    I would like to take Classes to know how to use smart phones & to learn how to do more with my computer how do i do this &where & cost thank you Sara J Peeler

  14. Jean Cody
    March 2, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Love this ad! Please show more of young and old and middle aged. That’s the beauty and happiness of life!

  15. LaVerne C Clouden
    March 3, 2020 at 12:32 am

    Sounds interesting. I was actually taught to use electronic devices by middle school students. I was a music teacher and they were my smart phone teacher. Worked out great working together.

  16. Lena Booker
    March 8, 2020 at 3:56 am

    I would love to be a part of this

  17. Anonymous
    March 10, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    I need this kind of help

  18. Delma George
    March 10, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    I need this kind of help Is there a program in north Austin Tx..?

  19. Anonymous
    March 11, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Public library in most areas offer tech learning for free.

  20. Martha
    March 12, 2020 at 2:21 am

    Is there one at the Best Buy in West a Hartford, Ct?

  21. Anonymous
    March 12, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    How can We Seniors connect with The New Generation to be more Educated in today’s new Technology!? I would like some classes

  22. Beverly Mandel
    March 13, 2020 at 12:53 am

    https://corporate.bestbuy.com/social-impact/teen-tech-centers/

    This 78 year old looked up where the classes can be found. See above to find locations.

  23. Marie
    March 13, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you Jesus ! I have always thought if you could LINK senior citizens in these nursing homes that are lonely to the teenagers that are eager for the world in front to connect with each other and share their life story would definitely be a plus for both. Thank you to whomever begun this even though it is intended for technology purposes it is also needed as we currently live in a digital world .

  24. Anne Lise Mitchell
    March 13, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    This is a great idea. The best ever. I live in San Francisco, CA and have often wondered how I could hire a student to teach me how to use some of the tech stuff I alrady have, but don’t know how to use. Any ideas about where I go from here. There is a great need for seniors who wants to learn how to use the tech stuff they already have.
    Grandchildren often have lots of activities and school work, so are not available to teach grams. or gramps.

  25. Anonymous
    March 15, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    I would to learn more about the computer .l am eighty and a little afraid of using the computer.l live in Great Falls MT,ls there anyplace close To sign up?It would make a big diference in my life Patricia OBoyle

  26. Anonymous
    March 16, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    I am 83 and really want to learn my phone hope Best Buy starts a program in Panama City , Fl. willing to pay a fee.

  27. Shirley Seletas
    March 16, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    I hope Best Buy in Panama City, Fl starts a class willing to pay.

  28. Carmen Nurse
    March 19, 2020 at 12:44 am

    I have been blessed with a granddaughter who showed me how to text my first message. I still depend on her to work out the kinks when I become frustrated but she’s so patient with “grams”.

  29. gary carter
    March 19, 2020 at 6:17 am

    what a great opportunity

  30. Irene MEHNERT
    March 23, 2020 at 7:48 am

    Do you have a program near Exton or King of Prussia in Pa! If 5not how can we initiate one?

  31. Bernice Kurash
    October 13, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    I use a computer but find a small keyboard such as are on smart phones, or flip phones for heavens’ sake, are a pain in the appropriate place. So I don’t even have a ‘carrier’ for my gifted smart phone. Don’t really know who I’d like to go with; my flip phone is with Consumer Cell. Of course I want more, but it seems everything is off the table until Covid-19 is no more…….BTW, my smart phone is not extremely intelligent, it was a gift.

  32. Juanita Lazo Dellomes
    October 14, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    Am 91 and the Computer & FB are my connection with the outside world presently BUT need a source to connect to question issues with Computer problems that come up WHICH mean one big one with my Comput NOT connecting just recently! Need a experience trouble mixer in L.A. to keep me connected since am active in the Community!

  33. Anne Lise Mitchell
    October 18, 2020 at 10:23 am

    I live in San Francisco, CA. Do you have this opportunity here?

  34. Darlene Bentley
    October 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    I would like to also have help on computer and iPhone.
    In California what is near me so I can have the program
    Of learning new things

  35. Anne Lise Mitchell
    October 20, 2020 at 7:01 am

    I already wrote to you on March 13/2020, but never received an answer. There is such a need for this kind of help. Families live far away from each other these days, so even if you have grandchildren that could help, they often live far away.
    Please let me know if there is a program in San Francisco, CA, or if you are planning a program there.

  36. Patricia Dillon
    October 26, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Is there any thing like this in NH

  37. Camille
    October 28, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Okay where and how do we get involved. You left out the most important part.

  38. George R. Farr
    October 30, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    I am wondering if you realize how many Seniors have an excellent understanding of technology? I began working with computers in the 1960s and have used all of the technologies over the years. I am 85 years old.

  39. Anonymous
    October 31, 2020 at 1:21 am

    This idea is great.

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