Technology's Brave New World: Crossing the Digital Divide

Charlotte Whittaker – AARP Kentucky Volunteer

It’s a Brave New World and I want to be a part of it – online. Growing up in rural west Kentucky, I never imagined having the world at my fingertips. But, my tablet and my smartphone both fit in my purse and they are my ticket to the Web and everything I want to know.

I was thrilled when invited to join AARP Live on RFD-TV and talk about how I’m using technology and the new AARP RealPad. Today, all my friends have smartphones or tablets and browse the Internet for information, maps, shopping and more. They love to browse social media like Facebook and Twitter, and I use search engines like Google, Yahoo to find most anything I need. And just in time for the holidays, I found a new recipe for bourbon balls on Pinterest.

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Growing up in McLean County, we didn’t have a telephone in our home until I was in middle school. We borrowed the neighbor’s phone when we needed to make a call, usually to the doctor caring for my grandmother. We were caregivers for her in the early 1960’s.

Devices like tablets and smartphones may seem a little challenging at first glance. So I invited our Walmart manager in Beaver Dam to join our AARP Ohio County Chapter in December to demonstrate the new AARP RealPad to our members. Tablets like the RealPad make browsing the Web simple, straightforward and easy, especially for consumers over 50. It’s one more way I can stay in touch with family, grandchildren and friends all over the county.

I retired in 2007, but I use technology daily as an AARP Kentucky volunteer. I’m especially proud of the work we recently did to support the first fundraiser for Habitat Build 2014 in Ohio County. I’ve used online toolkits to help my friends find the best plans they need during Medicare open enrollment and find coverage in the state’s health benefit exchange —  Kynect.

>> Get discounts on electronics with your AARP Member Advantages.

I’ve found that no matter your age, there’s a world of good out there on the Web. My goal for 2015 is to move forward with online banking and bill payments. I’ve found staying up to date on the latest frauds and scams in Kentucky is easy with the AARP Fraud Watch Network. Staying in touch with my elected officials is important to me, and most have email newsletters. And not too long ago, I sent my thoughts to the Federal Communications Commission on the television merger issue facing RFD-TV. I encourage my friends and anyone who wants to be informed (and have fun) to cross the digital divide into that Brave New World of technology.

And maybe even take an occasional selfie for fun.

I hope you’ll tune in to AARP Live and join conversation: Tell us how you use technology to stay in touch with family and friends. Call in during the show, Thursday, Nov. 20, at 10 p.m. ET on RFD-TV, or watch right here on the Web. We’ll take your calls, questions and comments live at 877-731-6733. Two lucky callers will have a chance to win one of two AARP RealPad tablets we’re giving away. ( Rules apply)


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