FOR DAGUPAN’S SENIOR CITIZENS Never too late to learn computer, Internet
By Yolanda Sotelo
DAGUPAN CITY – The senior citizens of this have found a new playground – the Internet – where they can chat with ther “apos,” relatives and classmates, and listen to and download old songs from the YouTube.Senior citizens of Dagupan City learn basic computer operations from the Dagupan City library.
The City Library has been conducting computer literacy classes for the elderly, some of whom are their 80s, starting from the basic operations to opening and managing a Facebook account and Skype.
“You can really feel their excitement when they are able to connect and chat with their ‘apos (grandkids),’ relatives and long-long classmates who are living in different parts of the world,” Corazon Langit, assistant librarian, said.
Those who really have limited or even zero knowledge about computers are taught about the very basic operations – “this is the monitor, this is the mouse, this is the CPU, this is how to type, this is how to erase,” she said.
“They have plenty of questions, too, such as what is skype, viber, instagram, facebook. They hear these words from their apos who are fast learners but who are usually impatient about explaining technology to their grandparents,” Langit said.
Some of the trainees, being in advanced years, are already hard in hearing and some are suffering from memory gap.
“After a few minutes, they would ask again, ‘how do I erase what I typed?’” Marilyn Caguioa, in charge of the library’s multi-media section, said.
The following day some would come and ask, “What is my password of facebook?” or “What is the password of my Skype account” and other questions.
“We ask them to write their passwords on their notebooks,” she said.
“We have to be very patient. But our reward is when we see their excitement when they are able to see the faces of their grandkids who are living abroad, and talk with them through the Internet,” Langit said.
Finding their old classmates is another source of happiness and pride for the trainees.
“They would delightfully yell when, after searching, they find the names of their classmates, and their request to be ‘friends’ are accepted. They would chat hours on end,” Caguioa said.
Another thrilling discovery for the elderly folk is the YouTube where they find songs that are famous during their young days.
“When they find the songs, they get excited and play them, and download them in their mobile phones, which we programmed according to their needs” Caguiao said.
The grandparents are not necessary poor, one of them even a former vice mayor of the city who is 84, and whose family members own high end laptops and tablets.
Some senior citizens themselves own laptops and pocket wifi, courtesy of their adult children.
“But the younger set are impatient at teaching the older set who complain that their children or apos are really fast in explaining the operations of computers. The elderly cannot cope with the explanations so they opted to enrol in our classes,” Langit said.
Some grandparents also proudly said they can help their very young apos with their school assignments, using the internet.
The literacy training is an outreach project of the city library. One training module for the elderly is for five-days (Monday to Friday) from 9-11 in the morning.
“There are absentees, too, such as when a grandmom has to fetch an apo from school,” Langit said.
But after the training, many of them come regularly, to ask about the ‘lessons’ they missed or ask for information they have forgotten, or to use the computers. Some of them return brandishing their new laptops and to avail of the library’s wifi.
The city library has trained 60-70 senior citizens since the literacy training program was started last January. It also trains mothers, barangay workers and others.
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