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Technology results in relationship rifts

Technology has transformed how we live our lives, but it has come at more than just a financial cost for many of us. A new Kaspersky survey has found that more than a third (35%) of over 55s would struggle with daily technology challenges if it wasn’t for support from their children. Due to this, they are automatically turning to younger family members for all forms of tech support, leading to cries of ‘Can you just… fix the internet?’, ‘… show me how to upload to the cloud?’ or ‘… secure my online banking app?’.

But at a time when the younger generation is trying to buy houses, have children and advance their careers, the demands from overwhelmed and uninformed family members to provide free technical support can be a step too far. Whilst more than half of millennials (55%) feel duty-bound to provide on-demand tech support to older relatives, a quarter (25%) say that they actively avoid family members who they think will ask for help.

With half (52%) of over 55s admitting they are not knowledgeable about tech, four-in-ten (41%) phone their children or other younger family members for remote IT support. An astonishing 18% miss their children’s tech support more than their company when they are not around. And, in their desire to get help from family members, 15% of over 55s have even bribed them for support.

“Not everyone has grown up with technology – and the older generation may therefore not feel as comfortable using it as millennials, or tech natives, do. But we want everyone to enjoy the opportunities that technologies can and do bring to our lives – and we are committed to empowering everyone with the information to do so. The right knowledge will enable users of all ages to conduct their online activities with confidence – and look forward to what the future could bring,” explains Alexander Moiseev, Chief Business Officer, Kaspersky.

The over-reliance on millennials to be tech support heroes is affecting family relationships, and even their gifting habits. Nearly a third (30%) avoid buying older family members technology presents, because they know they will be the ones lumbered with having to set it up.

“The dramatic rise of technology within our cars, offices and social environments has challenged all generations to continually learn how to benefit from them. Those in the second half of their lives can find the changes overwhelming and often fear being duped, exposed or targeted via them – and it is often millennials who are forced to come to the rescue. Being armed with knowledge may mean we all feel a little less of an existential crisis and a little more attached to our inner Bill Gates,” adds Kathleen Saxton, psychotherapist.

Kaspersky is committed to breaking the cycle of ‘Can you just’ and giving time back to millennials who are having to increasingly provide ongoing tech support for family members, as well as arming the older generation with the tools to help themselves. The full ‘Can you just’ report can be accessed here. Kaspersky has also created a series of ‘Can you just’ guides to empower the older generation, so that millennials can take back control of their lives. They can also be accessed here.

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