Turkish baby boomers catch up to Gen Z in internet usage
Turkish baby boomer have spent more time online than before amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of the elderly people using the internet skyrocketing by five times.
“There is huge demand from elderly people to attend computer courses of [the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s training courses] İSMEK,” daily Milliyet reported on Jan. 2.
According to the latest data announced by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), amid the pandemic, the usage of the internet by elderly people increased “unprecedently.”
The rate of the people between the ages 65 and 74 using the internet was only 5.6 percent in 2015. After the pandemic, in 2020, the percentage skyrocketed by five times and reached 27.1. “Elderly men use internet more than elderly women,” the data showed.
The İSMEK numbers match TÜİK’s data, too. “Some 11 percent of information technologies courses attendees are people above 50,” the daily wrote.
Nahide Avcı, a 73-year-old Istanbul resident, is one of those computer course trainees. “I used the computer for the first time in my life amid the pandemic. Computers made life convenient for me,” she told the daily.
“I have self-confidence now. I do not have my own computer at home. My children will get me one after I graduate from the İSMEK course,” she added.
The 60-year-old Metan İnce is another student on İSMEK’s computer course, getting training on digital design. “There is no age for learning. Youngsters seeing me in the course appreciate my dedication,” İnce noted.
İSMEK is an institute providing professional trainings and lessons on computing, languages, and handicraft, among many others, to anyone free of charge.
“I was working in the textile business. I had a serious disorder and after treatment, I did not want to go back to the textile world again,” 54-year-old Didar Taşkara, who is taking photoshop lessons at İSMEK, said.
“I had never worked with a computer before. I used to have scissors and cut fabric. Now these hands can work a mouse,” he added while smiling.
Having worked with a computer at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, Taşkara’s love for technology grew immensly.
He is now interested in woodwork. “To cut the wood, first you need to design it on the computer. I used to ask some other people to do it for me. But now, I am making my own designs on the computer.”
His knowledge of technology has taught him to be self-reliant. “It is better to do it yourself than ask others to do it for you,” he said.
Baby boomers are people born between 1946 and 1964, during the post-World War II baby boom. Also called, “baby boomers,” or shortly “boomers,” are the children of either the “Greatest Generation,” or the “Silent Generation,” and often parents of the late “Gen Xers,” and “Millennials.”
“OK, boomer” is a catchphrase and Internet meme often used by teenagers and young adults to dismiss or mock attitudes typically associated with baby boomers.