Visiting my grandparents as a child is one of my greatest memories. When my brother and I were young they would spoil us rotten. Food, tea, and free control of the AUSTAR remote. It was basically a kids dream come true. Before my Pa even had the internet in the house, we were glued to the telly, watching Cartoon Network and flicking to the History channel just to impress the passers-by.
This was the status-quo for many years but when it truly changed wasn’t when Pa got the internet wired to his computer, but when my brother and I got our first smart phones. We just wanted the WiFi password. The key to the information kingdom. A free pass to browse the World Wide Web at our grandparents house with no parents over our shoulder watching.
My brother and I being small, naive children on the big scary internet, had no concept of bandwidth, or datacaps, let alone how many gigabytes in a Youtube clip. Poor Pa only had 4GB a month. Now it’s hard to imagine what you could actually do with 4GBs but to my grandfather it made perfect sense. He only ever needed to reply to circa 2005/6 chain emails, and look up the golf. So when we exploded his data with a few funny videos and some browser based flash games, we capped his WiFi almost instantly.
Looking at the internet usage stats provided by the ABS, I told my grandfather that his average internet use was bellow the mean for his age.
Pa told me he spends less than 2 hours per day on the internet and all he does is send ad receive emails.
I said ‘Pa, why don’t you get Face Book to keep in touch with your friends?’ Many of my grandparents friends are over the age of 75. ‘Harry, none of my friends are smart enough to use Facebook.’ he said. E-mail is his primary means of communication on the internet.
We had a look at his Inbox of emails so I could Investigate further. On a daily basis, Pa receives up to 3-6 e-mails from friends along with the occasional update from the bank or ISP. His friends send jokes, puzzles, news stories, family photos and most surprisingly, memes.
My personal Inbox however, was vastly different. Zero emails from friends, and a plethora of bills, notifications, postage tracking, and spam. emails aren’t for or from my friends. Usually a new e-Mail means a new headache for me. I use emails to formally contact adults or companies or to receive auto filled pages from Face Book about the stats on my page. This bombardment of emails has made this medium (at least in my personal case) antiquated and fatigued.
With his new iPad, my grandfather does like most of us technologically savvy humans do. He sits in front of the TV watching golf and reading the emails from his friends. The only difference between him and myself is just the social medium we use.
And just for fun …
10 Chain Emails That Haunted Your Youth! Read and Send to 10 friends or you’ll live 10 years with bad luck!