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Monday, December 26, 2011

Library Asks Teens to Help Grandma Close the Tech Gap

Posted By on Mon, Dec 26, 2011 at 2:00 AM

click to enlarge This screen is making me nauseous!
  • This screen is making me nauseous!

My mother, now in her 60s, has just never grasped any part of the computer age. She still drives to Barnes & Noble to buy books at full price instead of getting the latest deal on Amazon. She's unsettled by the fact that a computer mouse is named after vermin, never mind that watching the arrow drag across the screen makes her nauseous. Mom made some valiant efforts to e-mail me while I was living in Argentina in my early 20s, albeit the messages were always rife with odd spacing. At the end of the day, she still wishes for a typewriter. 

So when mom watches my 13-year-old cousin update her Facebook account while simultaneously playing YouTube videos and a computer game, her attitude is similar to the one I used to have when listening to Argentine kids speak better Spanish than me: 'Oh, it's soooooo easy for you. You were born into it -- punks.'

Thankfully, the San Francisco Public Library is attempting to close this upsetting tech gap between generations.

Library officials are currently looking for teen volunteers with some patience to join the Teen Computer Corps. The volunteers will work one-on-one with adults older than 50, teaching them basic computer skills at various San Francisco libraries. 

It's not exactly like when Fidel Castro sent idealistic students into the Sierra Madre to help the peasants learn to read. But if you or a patient teen you know would be interested in helping out an older person to use "the computer," e-mail Kai Wilson at or call 557-4251.

It's time to share the technological knowledge that was your birthright. A senior will thank you, maybe via e-mail.

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Lauren Smiley


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