|Released 9 May 2014.|
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:
(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.
Films about Aging
Twitter Handles with an Aging Twist
Pew Data on Technology Use among Older Adults