/ Technology

Your view: can you be too old for new tech?

Paper speech bubble men

There was a debate on Which? Conversation that recently piqued my interest. It was on whether new gadgets, like smartwatches, were of interest to people over the age of 60…

I’ve always wondered whether in retirement I’d be as interested in new technology. Would I still have my love for video games, for example?

Maybe I still would, but perhaps I’d long for a good ‘old fashioned’ physical controller, rather than playing games in a holographic virtual world as the latest craze might be in the year 2060.

I’d like to think I’d still be open to new technology and new experiences in 2060, but who knows?

No interest in the latest ‘gimmicks’?

And now I’m going to have to take a step back, for fear of sounding patronising to those already in retirement. The reason I bring up these musings is because of a comment made on a Conversation by tech researcher Mike Plant in favour of smartwatches. Joe commented:

‘I sometimes wish Which? would employ their researchers a bit nearer the average age of the Which? reader, late 40s, 50s? As you can see 62% of us have no interest whatsoever in the latest techno gimmick that in reality does nothing to enhance your life whatsoever. Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh. Maybe it does add something exciting to the life of someone in their 20s and 30s. However, anything that records, tracks, reports, monitors my every movement fills me with horror.

‘Maybe some kind of wearable technology will become essential in your everyday life but it will not in mine.’

BobC loves his FitBit

I’m with Joe on his disdain for smartwatches, as argued in a post earlier this week. However, I was pleased to see the following comments in response. BobC said:

‘I’ve reached the ripe ‘old’ age of 67. I’ve recently worked my way through three different smartphones before settling on a Galaxy Note 3. I also have a Fitbit that I use in conjunction with MyFitnessPal – it’s great and has helped me lose some weight and get enough exercise.

‘Can people please accept that you can be over 60 and have a fascination with and skill in using technology!’

Agatha agreed:

‘I just want to support BobC and others like us. I am 56 and also love new technology, it’s creative, fun and useful so I for one welcome any info on what’s new and available out there!’

So, for fear of posing a patronising question, do you think you can be too old to have a passion for new tech?

trev nicholls says:
12 April 2014

How dare anybody from anywhere even suggest such a point of view. I’m going on 72 and covered in hi tech kit. The only issue I have is why is it so unreliable and unnecessarily made complex? Could be big business driving this issue. Remember they know more about you than you know yourself and now they have my comment on record to use as they see fit. Remember your as old as you feel.

Liz says:
13 April 2014

I am 70, still working part-time but mostly retired and work on a Samsung tablet on long work journeys by train with a wireless MiFi. I also use a Samsung S4 (though I miss my Blackberry!). Fascinated by new technology – but need to justify it – and afford it – to buy it. Have even read music from the tablet for a band practice.

Ewen says:
13 April 2014

How we love generalisations. I know people who never “took on anything new”after the age of 25 and people who are still “experimenting” in their 80s and 90s. Personally, I find things with complex keystroke sequences difficult to remember, but then I’ve always considered that to be a failure of design rather than my memory with age. As a recent convert to the iPad, I find the touchscreen capability is a big improvement for me, although now beginning to develop arthritis in one hand, there are some limitations, but these would apply to other interfaces too – but then there is voice recognition……..

Using Facebook chat, I was able to explain to my 35 y o daughter in Scotland why her central heating boiler wasn’t working and what she needed to do to get it working while I was sitting on the pacific coast of Costa Rica where there was no mobile phone reception – useful technology.

Larna says:
13 April 2014

I am 70 and like to know what is going on in the world, including latest technology. Some of it I use and enjoy, and some of it I don’t choose to have. It is all about choice and that is what the Which reviews give us. If I choose not to have something new, at least I know what others are doing or talking about.
I am at that comfortable age where I don’t just have to have the latest gadget as a fashion icon, or some kind of statement to my peers. If I choose to have it, it is because I find it useful or just enjoy using it.


At 82 I find there are only two problems. The tech companies pile junk in that I would never use in order to get what is essential. e.g. Doro has not carried its “hearing aid compatable” feature to its new smartphone. OK, most have loud speakers but who wants everyone in the 1640 from Exeter to hear you’ll be into Waterloo a few moments late. Second, the accelerating screen sizes require a knee length suit or overcoat. My Saville Row stuff of ’60s through -80s are not worn out yet and my tailor is dead. Three cheers for Kindle: I can read anything I want, anywhere I want without risking backache.


Once a lover of technology, always a lover of technology regardless of age but, like so many things, I’m much better at choosing which gadget is right for my lifestyle in my 60s rather than the latest ‘must have’! I so love the ability to choose when and where to watch TV programmes and the ability to access a wealth of information on the internet, shop, keep track of finances or stay in contact with family/friends via my mobile, iPad or laptop (and exercise the grey matter with a plethora of brain games!)


At 64, I am still a relatively young oldie compared with some of the commentators here I suppose. I started working as a computer programmer in 1967 and stayed in the business, one way or another, until I retired in 2010. I don’t know what I would do without computers but held off on a smartphone for years, considering them expensive gadgets, only for youffs to be seen with. However, last year I succumbed to a Samsung S4 and wonder why I didn’t earlier. Although I don’t make that many calls or texts, it is my mp3 player, my GPS and map display for walking, my camera (for casual stuff anyway), an ever-present route to the internet, reference to dictionary/thesaurus and a game station. Not so expensive if I consider how much each of these other functions would have cost separately. Oh, and it makes phone calls too!
I don’t follow technology too seriously, after so many years having to do just that, but I like to keep tabs on what might actually help me. On the other hand, if my mother was still alive, she would have been totally lost. Despite my trying to explain what I did etc, she wouldn’t even use an ATM. Everybody is different and age doesn’t really come into it.

john coke says:
13 April 2014

I find at 79 I have to be careful not to go into technical overload .
I started on an Amstrad( remember gruesome Alan Sugar) hated it then I got a desktop computer with Windows XP 10 years ago at 69 went to classes on word etc and am now very comfortable with word, websites and emails .I find classes far better than books I just cannot learn from an instruction book.
I also find now though that I get tired quicker and do not have the enthusiasm for new technology.
My son at 46 years has just persuaded me to buy an Ipad I can see its benefits but there are no classes except Apples .PLEASE if any one knows of self teach classes on line for Ipads email me..HOW ABOUT WHICH PUTTING SOMETHING ON LINE.

I do think WHICH caters for an age group say 25/35 this is inevitable to some extent but I agree they should not assume all their readers are in this range.

Finally I really dislike those people who boast in their posts of being technical geniuses at 60+ get for real we all have different needs and abilities !!


Interest in technology has little to do with age and more to do with lifestyle. At 72 I do however agree with the comment about complexity. I have been using a desktop running XP for about 12 years but having bought a new laptop with Windows 8 I find it incredibly difficult to work with and completely non-intuitive. It may be fine for geeks, nerds and experts but for the ordinary user give me something simple.