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Technology 101: How to Use Technology If You’re Not Naturally Tech-Savvy

aged hands using a mobile phone

Technology usage is no longer just a trend. It now plays a central role in our lives, making many aspects of them easier, accessible, and more enjoyable. Everyone benefits from it in one way or another, from making video calls to shopping for groceries to learning a new language. Because technology is always evolving, it is understandable if it makes you a little apprehensive. However, there are ways to allay your fears and maximize technology for many advantageous uses.

Things To Understand:

Icons are useful clues. Whether you are using a smartphone or a larger device, most interfaces are read easily through visual icons. These icons are each associated with a specific app or function. Once you learn which icon goes with which app or function, navigating your device will become much easier. For example, the message function is commonly represented by an envelope icon. Phone settings can be accessed through a gear-shaped icon. Maximize your device’s built-in programs by understanding which icons to press.

Mistakes are reversible. Many less tech-savvy individuals avoid diving into technology completely because they’re afraid of making mistakes. Clicking the wrong item and opening the wrong app may cause you to panic, but don’t worry. This happens to everyone! The good thing about technology is that things can usually be reversed even when you accidentally change something. If you have a loved one who knows their way around technology, ask for their assistance. Or you can ask an expert representative from a professional service or business. They can guide you through steps to reverse your actions.

You can always undo a command—just press CTRL + Z at the same time!

With these quick tips in mind, let’s head on to Technology 101.

1.   Video Chatting with Loved Ones

This may become one of your most-used activities online, and it gets easier with practice! Choose a video-calling app you want to start calling from. The person you’re calling should also have the same app. Among the best options are Facebook Messenger and Apple, which have accessible interfaces. When making the call, click the name of the person you want to contact. You should see a video-shaped icon on their profile. Click that.

It may take some time before the call gets connected. You will then see the video of your loved one on the screen. From here, you might want to check the Microphone icon to ensure that you’re not mute and the Video icon to ensure that the other person sees you on their screen). From there, feel free to start the conversation!

2.   Using a Digital Calendar for Appointments

Your device has a built-in calendar which you can use as a reminder for future appointments. To access that, open the Calendar app. It should have an icon that looks like a calendar, or say the word “Calendar” underneath the icon. If you have trouble finding it, most phones have a search feature.

Choose a date. The screen may require you to input a title for your reminder (e.g., “Son’s Birthday” or “Doctor’s Appointment”). Set a time for your reminder, and press “Save.”

3.   Setting up and Using a Smartphone

At best, start with a new or completely reset smartphone. Press the power button on the side of the device. This may not be clearly marked, but don’t worry; you won’t break anything by pressing multiple buttons. Keep in mind you may need to press and hold the button to power it on.

If this is the first time you’re using the device, it will likely have a tutorial when you power it on to help guide you through the process. Follow the instructions on the screen until you reach the smartphone’s home screen (this will usually include a clock, a list of apps, or a blank screen for you to fill).

In the Settings app—usually marked with a gear-shaped icon—head to “Security.” Choose the security option that is easiest for you: unlocking the phone through your fingerprints, facial recognition, or setting up a PIN, pattern unlock, or password you can remember.

Your phone has an Accessibility setting that lets you change the font, the colors, and even the number of apps you’d want to be shown on the main screen. This helps you focus on the important programs on your device. Usually, Accessibility is under Settings, allowing you to enable certain programs to help you maximize your device. If you have low vision, you can make the fonts and icons larger, helping you distinguish them on the screen. If you have trouble hearing, your phone has a live caption and live transcribe setting that allows you to read what is spoken. Your phone also has a built-in Voice Assistant, so you don’t need to manually search for things. AARP lists a few more accessibility options to help you maximize your phone.

4.   Online Shopping and Bill Paying

To get started with online shopping, the first step is to create a login account with a reputable online store. To do this, you will need to have an email address and create a strong password. Once your account is set up, you will want to enter your address and payment information.

Every online store has a search bar where you can search for the specific product you want to buy. Once you’ve found the product you want, select it from the list of options and click “Add to Cart.” Repeat this process for all the products you want to buy.

When you’re finished shopping, click on the Cart icon to review your selections. Take a moment to review each item and remove any that you no longer wish to purchase by clicking the “X” or “Remove” button. The website will then calculate the total cost of your purchase, including shipping fees. If everything looks good, click “Buy.”

During the purchase process, you may be asked to confirm your address and payment information. Take your time to double-check all the information for accuracy. If you find any errors, you can easily edit them.

After you’ve confirmed your purchase, sit back and relax while you wait for your order to be delivered to you!

Quick Tips for Navigating Social Media

  1. 1. Choose the right platform: There are many different social media platforms available, so choose one that you feel comfortable with and that matches your interests. Some popular platforms for seniors include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  2. 2. Familiarize yourself with the platform: Take some time to learn about the features and settings of the platform you’re using. This can help you feel more comfortable using it and ensure that you’re using it safely.
  3. 3. Protect your privacy: Be careful about sharing personal information, such as your address or phone number, online. Set your account to private and only connect with people you know and trust.
  4. 4. Connect with friends and family: Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away. Use it to share photos, stories, and updates with your loved ones.
  5. 5. Join groups and communities: Social media is also a great way to connect with people who share your interests or hobbies. Join groups or communities related to your favorite activities to connect with like-minded individuals.
  6. 6. Stay safe: Never click on links or download attachments from people you don’t know. Don’t share personal information or send money to anyone online.
  7. 7. Take breaks: Social media can be overwhelming at times, so it’s important to take breaks and step away from the platform if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Take time to enjoy other activities that you enjoy, like reading or spending time outdoors.

Practice Is Made Perfect with Your Family Around

Learning is more enjoyable when your loved ones are on board. For example, you can learn how to make video calls with the help of your family. Ask them to assist you in person or by phone. If they aren’t available and you have a home health aide or senior living community team member with you, you can also ask them for help.

Learn Technology with Us!

Here at The Oaks at Denville, we make learning technology enjoyable by offering exciting educational courses held in our performance hall. With many scheduled events made to feed your interests, being a lifelong learner has never been more satisfying. Come and make your home here! Surrounded by fabulous amenities and the breathtaking scenery at Denville, you can live your most purposeful best life while staying independent. Talk to us today.

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