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Mom, Dad and technology

Those of you who are, as I, generation-Xers (or generation-Y), will no doubt be able to relate to the following scenario:

It's 9:30pm on a cold monday night. You're snuggled up on the couch after a hard day at work, totally engrossed in the latest episode of Heroes, when suddenly, your mobile rings....

A little miffled to be disturbed just as the hero-guy is about to paint another future-predicting mindscape, you consider not picking up. But then you glance at the phone's display and see it's Mom you think that, Mom being almost 60, it must be urgent and decide to pick up.

Me: "Hey Mom" (one eye and ear focused on the TV)
Mom (with a stressed voice...bad sign nr 1): "Sabine, it's Mom"
Me: "Hi Mom......"
Mom: "Sabine, I have a problem." (no chit-chat to start...bad sign nr 2)
Me: "Hmmmm" (still watching the TV)
Mom: "I'm sitting infront of the computer..." (very bad sign...)
"and I can't send and receive mails. I've tried rebooting the pc, I've checked my connection to the internet....I've been to the hotmail website...I don't understand...I keep getting this message that says 'send and receive error'."
Me (very worried because I can sense this is going to mean the end of Heroes for me): "That's strange..."
Mom (in a very stressed voice now): "I urgently need to send an email (at 9:30pm????) and I don't know what to do. Can you please come over...I've tried everything and really can't solve this."

So much for Heroes tonight then.

I'm sure many of you will relate to this scenario. As our Boomer parents have discovered the wonderful, wonderful world of the world wide web, email and all things affiliated, we, their Gen-X and Y offspring, have become their personal IT departments. My mom and dad truely believe my brothers and I can answer all their internet/computer-related questions, fix all their problems (even at 10pm) and buy them the perfect computer. Without me knowing, my parents have promoted us to network specialists, hardware analysists/troubleshooters, not to mention software programmers or IT purchasers.

One thing's for sure: Boomers have discovered what technology can do for them in a big way and they are here to stay (and consume). According to Imago Creative's article
Boomers 2.0 "Baby Boomers currently account for one-third of the 195.3 million Web users in the U.S., making them the Web's largest constituency". I bet Europe's boomers aren't far behind...

According to the article "...despite their size, purchasing power, and experience with all things digital, Boomers remain one of the most underserved technology audiences when it comes to customized destinations, products and services."(I smell opportunities for many companies in many, many different sectors here...)

Suggestion from a gen-X daughter: 24-hour telephonic support hotlines.