Can you ever keep up with technology?

The other day I was applying for a visa to travel. The application had to be done online so I read through their requirements.

Photo of the front page of my passport. I could do that with my phone and then email it to myself. The tricky bit was getting the front page to lie flat without shadows. Tick.

Another passport-size photo. Ah, a quick trip to the post office, try not to smile in said photo, pay my money and the kind assistant even emailed it to me. Brilliant, I thought. Tick.

Then I started filling in the form and came to a hitch. The jpg photo files of my passport and photo were not acceptable. Evidently it had to be a pdf format. Now I am sure to a digital native this seems easy, but instantly my anxiety level hit the roof. How do I do this?

Breathe, think and then ask Google. Write down the process and attempt to do it. Yes! It worked, but not without my blood pressure rising and a feeling of instant dread enveloping me.

Digital demands

Now why am I relating this? Because I am deeply concerned that as I age, I will not be able to keep up with all the digital demands that are now bombarding us.

Do you know how to turn on a computer? That might seem like a silly question but there are folk out there who don’t know how, and maybe don’t even own a laptop. One of my relatives is in that boat and life is getting harder for her on a daily basis.

And, of course, a lot of processes today rely on you owning a smartphone and being able to use it. Perhaps the owning part is the easy bit, though the cost of the latest phones is astronomical and downright extortion. But you need time and interest to play with them and to master them.

Adult offspring tend to roll their eyes, making huffing noises and disparaging comments like, “I’ve told you how to do it!” when asked for help by their parents. Ask them twice and you get your head bitten off. I am waiting for karma to come round when they have their own children.

Reflecting on this made me very aware of how lucky I had been, in many ways forced to embrace the digital world via work. And then dabbling in a bit of part-time work has kept my skills bubbling away, but I realised only just.

I have only just learnt how to load my Visa card to my phone wallet, to send email and attachments to my notes folder on my phone and finally, in the coup de grace, to enhance my photo files so I look better.

Appy days

Hardly earth shattering though and each time I manage to learn something, another app comes along to challenge me, sending me down a spiral of anxiety and fear.

The other day in the bank as I attempted to get a new debit card activated, a young man tut-tutted scornfully at me because I didn’t use the bank’s app on my phone.

I tried to explain that I did do internet banking and had for years but it was to no avail, I had failed the test and was relegated to old folks category, to wait endlessly for a free assistant to guide me through the process, patronising me along the way. Which bank you might ask.

But what will come next in the fast-changing digital world? I feel as though I am on a treadmill and soon I will fall flat on my digitally enhanced face.

Do you feel overwhelmed by technology? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: AI and humanity, could we be second rate to a machine one day


  1. Terrific article Di Motton!! So true. I have been working with computers since the 80s, ma reasonably tech-savvy, but am sick to death of this “everything digital” world. You can’t even sneeze without having to create an account and yet another password. And as for everything having to be done online, it is sooooo tedious! What about good old-fashioned face-to-face customer service? Yes, certainly there are great aspects about doing things quickly and easily online, but the balance has gone. How the hell do the over-80s who’ve never used computers manage? And imagine in a worst case scenario if the world’s major infrastructure systems are irreversibly hacked – Cormack McCarthy’s “The Road” come to life maybe?

- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -