Teens coach seniors on getting gadgets to work

  • Tue Mar 16th, 2010 7:51pm

By Katya Yefimova For the Enterprise

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — One could say that 12-year-old Zander Hall-Spicuzza has a knack for technology.

On Saturday, he helped Kathryn Hack of Marysville figure out how to use a digital picture frame she was given on her birthday more than a year ago.

The Mountlake Terrace sixth-grader was one of about a half-dozen tech-savvy teens who came to the Mountlake Terrace Library to help older adults figure out their new gadgets.

“I really enjoy technology, and I always feel much better after helping someone,” Zander said.

Most teenagers these days are on much better terms with technology than adults. Even if they don’t know how to use a particular device, they usually learn quickly and easily, said Dawn Rutherford, a teen services librarian.

Library staff have been looking for intergenerational programs. They borrowed the idea for a gadget-coaching session from the Lynnwood Parks Department, which held similar events in the past, Rutherford said.

Staff went to the local senior center to invite people to participate and publicized the event at Mountlake Terrace High School.

Kids showed up from Everett and Shoreline, among other places.

Marsha Rockett, 71, came all the way from Bellevue to get tips on how to use different features on her new MP3 player, cell phone and digital camera.

Many older people such as Rockett are interested in new technology. It’s just that, when instructions prove impossible to decipher, they get discouraged, she said.

“Unless you have grandkids, you are stuck,” Rockett said.

Lynette and Clinton Riedner, ages 74 and 77, of Seattle, were glad they took advantage of the opportunity. The couple said they feel a bit embarrassed asking their own children for help too often. Jessie Triemstra, 13, showed them different features on their cell phones, which they bought grudgingly but have accepted as useful.

“It’s harder to learn at this age, but we need to keep up,” Lynette Riedner said.

Katya Yefimova writes for the Herald.