Technology when used to the best of it’s ability, connects us and brings us closer together. It gives us the option to bond with people in a way that was simply not possible not so long ago. Whatever stage of life you’re at and whatever capability, choosing the right technology to accommodate to your needs is a must.
Everywhere you look, it can seem that technology is consistently portrayed as the bad guy. Some people claim that the blue hues of computer screens are ruining our sleep patterns, our posture needs correcting from constantly hunching over laptops and robots are taking over the world. Admittedly, some products can be questionable; from hairdryers that talk to your hair, assessing how damaged it is, and a belt that tightens when you’ve eaten too much.
However, technology can transform the choices we make and the way we experience our various life stages, from childhood and parenthood, all the way through to retirement. It’s all about picking the right technology for you, at a given time.
Contrary to the popular belief that technology is inhibiting younger generations’ ability to socialise, recent research has found that technology can, in fact, improve children’s social skills. It’s been reported that virtual reality (VR) could soon help children with autism to improve their ability to communicate. Through a headset, VR embeds us in virtual environments to experience computer-generated interactions. Growing up is a difficult process at the best of times, but growing up with autism can present added difficulties.
A study by researchers at the University of Texas, which saw children interacting with virtual characters, found that the children who took part in the test showed improved social skills and better relationships at the end of the study. This kind of technology, like Oculus Rift, enables children to practice their social skills in a way that’s difficult to replicate in a real-life situation, and can have a big impact on developing these vital skills at a young age.
Being the father of five children myself, I know from experience that becoming a new parent can be a daunting prospect. Research suggests that women in particular can find it difficult to adjust. They want to do their best as a new mother, but don’t always have the time to meet with friends and family to discuss their concerns.
Where sometimes a lack of government funding can make it difficult for these new mums to find support, technology, in the shape of online parenting forums like NetMums, can significantly improve how some women experience this great new stage in their lives. Technology like this enables new parents to become part of a community and seek the advice they need, in an environment where they feel comfortable.
These days, it is very common for over-65s who have retired to continue to work, learn, or travel, and keeping in touch with friends and family is important. Sometimes, retirees can feel restricted by new technology that seeks to enable this, with small text or buttons, not to mention complicated user interfaces. They may even be subjected to pressure from their own families to use the latest smartphone, and give in without fully understanding how they work. There are a limited number of manufacturers who are addressing this need for simplicity – and often, it’s driven by responses from local government, rather than any brand ethos. It leaves app developers and specialist companies to address the issue. Retirees truly want to use technology. With the right help, their confidence can return and turn even a technophobe into a savvy, older technology adopter.
So don’t panic when you come across the latest ‘smart hairdryer’ or ‘connected toaster’. It’s important to remember that we have access to some really great technology that can enrich our lives, no matter what age we may be.
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