Why are a lot of older females not as good as males in operating computers
and other gadgets unless they are really young? This happens over and over
again. A 41-year-old female did not know how to adjust the volume on a PC
computer after using the thing for well over a decade. I’m almost sure the need
to change the volume came up before. The same reaction with other things such
as remote controls. Two females, one in her twenties and the other in her
thirties, both set up their iPod Wi-Fi with no assistance whatsoever. If she
clicks on the speaker, the slider shows up with the labels in her language but
she still is stumped – the 41 year old.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #74, I look at an over-generalization about the type of people who
can understand and use technology.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
Not comfortable with technology
Well, I took this question with a little bit of trepidation, because to be
honest, I think you’re going to piss a lot of people off with what I can only
characterize as an unfair generalization.
My experience… the reason I wanted to respond to this, is that my
experience does not match yours. Computer savviness, or computer ignorance
(where ignorance isn’t really meant as a pejorative term, it’s really meant as
a statement of fact that ignorance is nothing more than a lack of knowledge –
ok?), lack of knowledge in my experience, transcends both genders and all age
There are people I hear from regularly that would fall into both sides of
the camps you describe. People who are very comfortable with technology and
will dive right into it – from their twenties through their eighties. And
people who are having trouble with technology; who are having difficulty
understanding – from their eighties through their twenties. It’s not
age-specific. It’s not gender specific.
You’re going to get in trouble!
If anything, I don’t really have a good characterization. I do think that
there are some generalities that can be made. I think that, in many cases, more
young people tend to use mobile technology. People of my age tend to be more
desktop PC oriented – but that’s a really, rough, rough generalization.
There are so many… there are tons, tons and tons of exceptions to
that kind of thinking. So I would strongly advise you to step away from that
It’s going to get you into trouble, to be honest. Not so much because of the
people that you might be pissing off – but rather, by assuming that someone is,
in your words, “an older female” they don’t understand technology as
You’re going to run into females, who match your criteria, who are going to
knock your socks off and put you to shame! Basically, they’re going to put you
in your place.
So, my recommendation is to step away from that generalization. Step away
from the stereotypes. Evaluate individuals as individuals. My experience
absolutely does not match yours and I would strongly recommend that you keep an
open mind to exactly the kinds of things that are going on in computing
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
Next from Answercast 74- Can I
trust a failed flash drive if I reformat it?