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The Great Tech Divide


There is a technology divide between the generations. The tech divide has nothing to do with the fact that Grandma needs help to set up her Netflix account. The gap has more to do with the difference between useability and security.

For example, many people over age 45 are concerned about privacy and information tracking. Many younger people are interested in useability and less concerned with privacy issues. The older group wants to know what a cloud service will do with their information and files, while the younger group wants to know about storage and accessibility.

Each group has valid concerns, so how do we bridge the divide? First, we have to understand why each group thinks the way they do. It is clear that age is a factor, but this does not define each group. There are people over age 45 for whom privacy is not that important an issue. Likewise, there are people in the younger group who are privacy advocates. So, where do we start?

We start at the beginning. The over age 45 group did not grow up with access to current technology; it makes sense that they are warier of its use. The younger group being exposed to current technology since birth likely feels more comfortable with its use. Each group has a legitimate claim to the way they associate with technology. Most younger users are concerned when privacy issues are apparent, just as the older group becomes concerned if they cannot access stored files. Their focus is on differing priorities. Where does that leave us?

As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. There is no easy answer but knowing why the groups feel the way they do helps us figure out a path to bridge the tech divide. Problems related to technology often stem from the speed of their growth. Many concerns arise before anyone has had an opportunity to think of solutions.

The projected growth rate of Cloud storage is over 30% through 2023. It will be difficult for these companies to imagine all of the privacy issues that may come up while trying to serve the storage needs of their customers. Technology growth rates have been astronomical over the past several years; the example applies to many sectors, not just cloud storage.

I doubt we will ever be able to erase the divide, but I think we can address some of the issues. Perhaps a non-legalese version of the privacy policy would help. Something that everyone can understand but still points to the actual policy for legal sake. The same holds for the terms and conditions page. If each age group understands the things that matter to them, they are more likely to look at secondary concerns.

The best way to alleviate concerns is to provide information. Clear disclosure would eliminate or expose many of the issues creating the divide. If we all understand (sticking with our cloud storage example) the provisions such as capacity, accessibility, and privacy, we can determine what issues need addressing.

Some things are generational, such as walking uphill in the snow to school, others simply require more information.

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