Older adults can’t stop looking at their phones

  • Everyone is working hard to stop using their phones so much, but some families are fed up. Photo: Emma Kumer/The Washington Post

This is a translation by El Diario de la nota. Baby boomers can’t stop looking at their phones, original Washingtonpost.

Spending a lot of screen time is something we often associate with children. We think of little kids watching for hours. Cocomelon On iPads or teenagers who prefer to dive completely into video games or YouTube, not to mention how their day was.

But there’s another demographic that has a hard time letting go of their devices: older adults, or the elderly in particular. baby boomers (American generation born between 1946 and 1964). Smartphones entered their lives late, but were quickly conquered by these devices.

Now their children say they are addicted to their screens, even when they should be paying attention to their grandchildren. two-thirds exploding According to a survey by 2019 Pew Research Center.

“My mom has been very fond of her phone over the past five years. Angela, 37, who refuses to use her last name so as not to hurt her family’s feelings, admits that whenever we’re together, she’s usually on her phone, usually on social media.”

“It really bothers me that my kids are around because they’re often trying to get his attention, and he doesn’t realize they’re trying to get his attention because he’s on the phone.”

We asked more than 100 millennials and millennials about their parents’ phone habits. Nearly half said their parents don’t spend much time on their phones (and are around to share moments) because they’re not tech savvy or still use flip phones.

But the rest are immersed in their devices. They play Words with Friends, Candy Crush and card games, often loudly. They also watch the news, check sports scores, browse Facebook and send text messages. Some even use them as real phones and have a long chat with someone they know.

“Phone calls are the worst,” admits Richard Husk, father of two. “They make a 45+ minute phone call with a random golf friend while I try to visit them with the kids.”

Tyler McClure said that his mother is on Facebook all the time and can’t do anything without his phone, while his father said, “While watching TV, he Googles what he sees on TV.” Both parents tend to look at their phones rather than their grandchildren.

“My father, a 75-year-old Vietnam War veteran who once called smartphones a ‘waste of time’ in 2009, today has his Bluetooth headset connected to his phone and to his truck,” explains McClure, who lives with Tennessee. his family. “To be honest, your iPhone could also be an implant type. borg because of the way she lived with him when she was younger.

there may be a good reason

Not all screen time is the same. Sometimes the extra minutes they spend looking around are just to find the phone itself. Angela’s father is better at screen time than her mother, but still takes 10 minutes to write each text. (She marks them all with “XO”, which means “hug and kiss” in Spanish.)

“They spend more time just looking at their phones and understanding what they’re really seeing,” explains Abbie Richie, founder and CEO of the tech support company. senior savvy. “The first few seconds an older adult really needs to understand what they’re looking at. They have to process it. Due to the required processing, the residence time is longer on the device.”

The phone is also a tool for grandparents to connect with the people in their lives. Many people we spoke to said they like to read aloud from their parents’ phones, telling their family or loved ones about the weather, headlines, or viral stories that may or may not be true.

Many grandparents may have a hard time keeping up with their grandchildren physically or talking to them. Emily Lakdawalla says her parents are pretty good at not using their phones in family situations, but her father still doesn’t interact much with his two grandchildren, aged 13 and 16.

Alex Ebens’ father uses his phone to help connect. “She physically can’t keep up with kids, so no matter how much I ask her, she’s dragging them down the rabbit hole on YouTube,” says Ebens.

Of course, children may find screens more interesting than their older relatives. Doing things together on these devices is one way to connect.

They learned from their own children

Everyone has a hard time staring at their phones for too long. Grandparents are likely to inherit some of their habits from their own children and grandchildren.

“The somewhat embarrassing truth is that their devices are much better at not being distracted than my wife and I are,” says Lucas Mitchell, father of two from Vancouver. Their parents use their iPhones and iPads frequently, but they’re good at focusing on sharing with the family.

“You have to model the behavior you want them to have,” Richie says. “Almost a exploding You use your cell phone like you’re a 12-year-old with your phone in your hand for the first time, and it’s a screen maker (digital native)”.

Talk to them, buy them a smartwatch

Besides setting a good example, there are other ways family members can get their parents to hang up. Chatting without a phone is a good way to start, but it’s not always easy.

“It’s a weird subject,” Richie says. “Usually you don’t have to think about raising grandparents.”

Having conversations can be a good example by showing your own children how to get the attention they need. (This can backfire if you use your own phone a lot.)

Depending on your budget, buying them a smartwatch like the Apple Watch is another option. It allows users to see incoming messages and news alerts without the danger of being distracted by other apps on the phone. You can show them how to use Screen Time tools on their devices. If they’re not aware of the problem, a weekly report describing how many hours they’ve been surfing on their cell phone can be a wake-up call.

You can also teach them to use “Do Not Disturb” modes so they’re not distracted playing with the kids, whether they’re batting the ball or watching YouTube videos of batsman pros.

Parents also relied on their younger and more sensitive relatives to feel some guilt. They’ll ask Grandpa to leave his device for a while, or at least share it.

“My daughter has learned to entertain herself when she comes to visit,” says Andrea Button-Schnick, who gossips about her stepmother’s work or her small town on her phone. “But he does apply the rule that dinner time is phone-free grandma time.”

Translated by Jose Silva

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