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MD Youngsters Teach Elders a 'Thing or Two' about Tech

PHOTO: Randallstown High School students recently helped some non-tech-savvy Marylanders learn computer basics at an AARP Maryland event. Photo courtesy of AARP Maryland.
PHOTO: Randallstown High School students recently helped some non-tech-savvy Marylanders learn computer basics at an AARP Maryland event. Photo courtesy of AARP Maryland.
October 8, 2014

BALTIMORE, Md. - "If you need help with your computer, ask a kid." That may be a joke on the Internet, but the American Association of Retired Persons is taking it seriously by partnering the non-tech savvy with high school students in Maryland.

At one recent event, about 80 students helped 80 seniors with technology questions. Mike Kulick, digital communications specialist at AARP Maryland, says it doesn't take long for seniors to navigate their devices when they have a young coach by their side.

"Youth can teach folks about how to get onto a computer," says Kulick. "Also to connect to Facebook and some of the other social media sites, and how it can really change their lives."

Kulick says youth also learn a thing or two at the events by getting to know an older person they wouldn't have normally encountered.

Kulick adds, sometimes when family members are involved in the tech teaching, it can be frustrating, but these pairings with high school students bring different results.

"Sometimes it only takes a couple of minutes of sitting down with someone and listening to them, being patient with them, and showing them a couple things to really get the ball rolling," he says.

Kulick says they've discovered people who learned shorthand in high school tend to be adept at texting, once they set up an account or app. AARP will schedule more sessions soon, which include a screening of the documentary "Cyber Seniors."

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD