Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cyber-Seniors: Film Review

Released 9 May 2014.
I know, "So many movies, so little time.

This movie was exhilarating. Watch it!  I am so happy that it finally made its way to the top of my queue.

Cyber-Seniors (2014) is a documentary about a group of teenagers who mentor a group of older adults on how to use computers.

The documentary shows the older adults gaining skills in using the mouse, using menus and then using programs such as browsers, social media sites and video viewing sites.

But this partnership isn't limited to a one-way transfer of information. No way. 

The older adults also get an opportunity to talk to the teens about their extended families, their work experience, their military experience, and their present challenges and opportunities.  I was moved to tears while watching the older participants use technology to express their feelings, to share their interests, to connect with their extended families and to offer their perspective on life.


This intergenerational connection was a salient aspect of the documentary.  I used to work full time at a university (teaching classes for the English department and managing student support services).   For a couple of decades, I mainly interacted with people 18 to 40 years old.  I was trapped in a generational ghetto of sorts. And it really distorted my view of the world.  I enjoyed watching the teens expand their view of the world by interacting with people decades older.

The teens helped the participants make videos about an interest or area of expertise.  These videos ranged from cooking demonstrations, observations on sisterhood, golf tips, and even a "granny rap."

Tears freely ran down my face when Ebert (then 88) shared how to find purpose as an older adult:


Yes, the teens helped him make the video, but I hope they also really listened to what he's saying here.  Heck, at midlife, I probably need to strive to better hear what Ebert is saying here:

(OK. I just rewatched this, and I'm crying again.  Ebert has so much strength and wisdom to share, and it's wonderful that the Internet and this documentary gave him a platform to demonstrate this!)

My only hesitation about this documentary is the way the editing forwards a stereotype that older adults are inept at technology. I know a great number of older adults who have been using computers for 35 years and are actually extremely expert.  But I do concede that there are people (of all ages) who have not acquired basic computer literacy.  I do think teaching people (of all ages) to use the computer is empowering.

So when watching this preview, just keep in mind that not all older people are computer illiterate.


I  highly recommend this documentary to viewers of all ages.

Related:

Films about Aging
Twitter Handles with an Aging Twist
Pew Data on Technology Use among Older Adults



15 comments:

  1. Sounds good ... it's definitely going on my list.

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    1. I hope that you enjoy it, Tom. All my best to you.

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  2. I had forgotten this movie and now want to see it. They should have included some cyber seniors that were skilled to give balance, though.

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  4. I definitely want to see this documentary. Thank you.

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    1. A face-to-friend with small kids watched it on my recommendation and loved it.

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  5. This is a winner! I'm sending it to my kids too! Thanks for the heads-up!

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    1. The reviewer at Village Voice found it a compelling argument why people should accept FB requests from their grandparents. Intergenerational connections for the win!

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  6. I've been wanting to see this for quite some time. It sounds wonderfully uplifting and inspiring. Thank you for your fabulous review and reminder!

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  7. Wow this looks great. I'm so impressed by the videos. What a wonderful movie. I can't wait to see it now. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. It's been well received by a variety of viewers. I think you will enjoy it.

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  8. Nice movie review. I'd like to see it. And, I can relate! My dad (whose writings I publish on my blog) also found purpose in life after 80 through the computer for two main reasons: to keep in touch with family and friends and to continue his writing passion through his columns in newsletters, a blog, etc. His Facebook page was his home page. My brother and I would teach him a little bit every week, so he could do internet research, transfer his music collection, use Skype, and more. (By age 90, he was printing tons because his eyesight declined for reading on the monitor.) Thanks for posting your review.

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    1. That's great that you are giving your dad's writing a broader audience. Keep up the good work.

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