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Goeun Park: Technology is for everyone

Earlier today, I taught my dad how to use Spotify (which is like the genius lovechild of iTunes and Pandora, and totally something you should check out if you haven’t yet) and afterwards, it hit me that that was the most useful life skill I could ever give him.

Unsurprisingly, technology is one of the few things I’m better at than my parents. That’s not to say I’m very good at it — in fact, I’m anywhere between perfectly mediocre and pathetically clueless when it comes to a jammed printers or antivirus programs.

I once made a computer science major twitch by using my keypad to copy and paste instead of using the keyboard shortcut.

Nevertheless, I still know how to use Google like a pro and I think that’s good enough to solve most problems (in computers and possibly also in life).

Being my parents’ amateur IT Gal over the years has been… exasperating at times. I often forget that they didn’t exactly grow up with laptops and smartphones with a GPS. I can hardly blame them for not being tech savvy.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed this trend of older folks being reluctant to pick up new technology. I don’t expect anyone my parents’ age to be gung ho over Snapchat or Instagram, but a little more excitement about innovation never hurt anyone.

There’s been a lot of conversation on how the younger generation is obsessed with their smartphone screens and how they oversaturate themselves with technology and there’s a grain of truth to all of that, but we never address the other end of the spectrum. What about the people who don’t feel comfortable with technology?

I think that digital literacy is important, no matter what the age. Knowing how to use a search engine is the key to knowing just about everything.

For example, when the home computer we bought 10 years ago freezes or becomes plagued with pop-ups, I can Google steps to fix it rather than leave a slightly faulty (and once quite expensive) machine to collect dust in a corner.

Google Maps is also the best thing since sliced bread. Well, no, it’s the best, period.

Computers and other technology shouldn’t be intimidating. What they should do is make life easier for you with as few clicks or swipes as possible. The only problem is to find out what order those clicks or swipes need to be — and again, that’s why you use Google.

I don’t know if Dad will actually use Spotify to listen to music. Probably not, the man still listens to record tapes. But if he ever comes around, he’ll know how.

Goeun Park graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends college in California.