We often hear the term “Raising up a new generation” regarding training today’s youth to be tomorrow’s future. But being in the heart of the Digital Age has made me wonder about how we are taking care of the older generations in this time of technological innovation.
Digital journalism plays a major role in today’s modern developments, yet we often see people our parents’ age and older push back against this innovation. Both of my parents read the full paper every single day. Now, my mom is definitely more in-touch with technology than my dad (as in she somewhat knows how to use a computer), but neither of my parents see why they shouldn’t keep reading the daily paper.
While tradition and nostalgia help people view print journalism positively, I think about the time, energy, and resources that are not used to their fullest potential with print journalism. The amount of time that papers require run the risk of having information no longer be relevant. It also raises the issue of deforestation and energy waste. In an article entitled “The Facts – Paper Consumption and its Impacts,” the organization Forest Ethics states “Paper production is the third most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries, using over 12% of all energy in the industrial sector. The paper and pulp industry is also the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the manufacturing sector.”
This makes me think about the vast amounts of energy manufacturers and different industries use, and it scares me that this is how we are using our natural resources. One of the biggest causes of this kind of waste is lack of education surrounding it. The younger generations are very aware of the “Green Movement” and the lasting impact of our recycling and conservation efforts, but the older generations do not really care about this issue.
My solution is to educate older generations about the benefits and importance of recycling, as well as teach them more about how to use technology. I think of the cliche “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” and while teaching older generations how to use digital technology will not be easy, I believe it to be important.
I have seen this play a massive new role in my dad’s life. My dad is a doctor at Memorial Hospital and a few years ago, the hospital made the change from written records to entirely digital records of patient information. You could say that my dad was not happy about this change because my dad had to learn how to type quickly. He does not handle change well, so this change when he still has fifteen years left of his career made him realize he must learn the basics of how to use a computer.
Now, he can type and use eBay, and that’s basically it, but it’s a start. In our classes, we often talk about teaching the youth how to use technology and social media properly, but we cannot forget to teach the older generation simply how to use it. I wish a quick and easy solution to this issue existed, but if we do not change our habits soon, deforestation and energy consumption will affect our world even more.
I am also not saying that we should completely get rid of print journalism. I understand loving the feeling of holding a paper, seeing people you know in it, reading the comics, that sort of thing, but I think we could save a lot of issues in the future if we switch to a weekly paper format. The Greenville Advocate already has this sort of method by only printing on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I think the world would benefit greatly from this method.