The divide between digital natives today and seniors who grew up without technology has only grown as technology continues to advance.
A group of inspiring teens at Magna Library decided to use their digital literacy skills to help close this digital divide. This group of students found a mutual love for technology when they met through the QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) at their local library.
With the help of the devoted librarians, a group of 12 students trekked over the senior center to help the seniors get connected. These students sat down and just talked to the seniors one-on-one. The kids got to the know the seniors and learn from them, all while teaching them about their devices.
The seniors learned about their phones, tablets, computers, and Kindles. As a result, the seniors were able to communicate with family outside of the senior center, helping them feel more connected.
The internet has changed the way we communicate. It has opened up a whole new world of connections that most of the senior population has not been able to benefit from. These seniors have a lot to share. They have family to connect with. They too, can benefit from the ease of access of information or books.
A few weeks after their 5 visits, one of the ladies came into the library earnestly asking, “Oh, is that curly-head boy coming back? I need that curly-head boy to come back and help me again, I forgot something.” How great to see the seniors connecting and how great for these students to take on the role of teacher. It was clear just how much they helped the seniors.
Trish Hull, Library Manager, praised the efforts of these teens, “I think for them to be able to turn around and give back and be the ones helping and serving, instead of someone else always helping them, is really good for them and they do a really good job.”
Magna Library plans to do more visits and even expand to other senior centers. This was not an official project, you can simply get connected in your own community with a senior center. Go see what digital knowledge you can contribute. Trish said, “It was a very positive experience.”
Magna Library strives to provide opportunities and access for these kids to things that other kids might take for granted. They have a variety of programs helping to engage the youth. We will share more about those on our blog soon!