Understanding the internet and enough digital applications, but unable to cope with the printer

Understanding the internet and enough digital applications, but unable to cope with the printer

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2023-03-06 23:27:38

Garrett Bemiller, 25 years old, from New York (USA), has spent his entire life online. He grew up in front of screens, swiping from app to app. But there is one electronic device that Bemiller admits he is not confident and comfortable using. It’s an office printer.

“Things like scanners and copiers are complicated,” Bemiller said. And his first experience of copying something in the office was not so smooth. “It kept coming up as a blank page and it took me a few tries before I realized I had to put the paper upside down for it to work.”

Bemiller often turns to Google for answers. But then, he found a better solution, which is to make friends with some older employees who are experienced in copying documents. Bemiller knows that people used to expect that he, a typical GenZ, would be the one to help them solve their technical problems.

How do they know how to scan something if they’ve never been taught how to do it? The Guardian’s illustrations

“There is a widespread belief that children born in the information age can naturally grasp any technical tool,” he said. Sarah Dexter, an associate professor of education at the University of Virginia. “But that’s not realistic. How do they know how to scan something if they’ve never been taught how to do it?”

Gen Z employees tend to be well-equipped to edit all their photos and videos from their phones or use website or fan page builder tools. And they grew up using apps to get things done and are used to the ease that comes with Apple’s operating system. Their formative years of technology have been tempered by the use of user-friendly software.

Meanwhile, the desktop is clearly a less intuitive thing. And things like files, folders, scans, prints, and a ton of attached hardware are the hallmarks of office life. Many young people don’t even know which button to press to turn on the computer screen, because before that they just needed to fold their personal laptop after using it. A user on the Reddit forum working in the IT field once said that he had to put a label on the power button of the computer screen to instruct young employees in the company.

“I used to joke in my lessons that my Gen Z intern didn’t know how to send a letter.”Steve Bench, intergenerational difference consultant for shared businesses. “They often ask me where to put the stickers. Yes, they mean that stamp.”

Technology company HP even coined the phrase “Technology Shame” to define how overwhelmed young people feel when using basic office tools. According to research, 1 in 5 young office workers said they “feeling judged as having a technology problem”, and this makes them less likely to be asked for help. And in another survey, employment agency LaSalle Agency found that nearly half of the class of 2022 graduates feel “underprepared” when it comes to related technical skills. to be able to enter the labor force.

Dell conducted a separate survey of people between the ages of 18 and 26 and found that 56% of respondents said “they have very basic or no digital skills education.” A third of them said their education did not provide them with “digital skills needed to advance their careers”.

And that’s why printers have become one of the things that are especially challenging for Gen Zs.

GenZ's technological paradox: Understanding the internet and enough digital applications, but giving up in front of the printer - Photo 2.

Desktop computers are sometimes strange to the generation who only used smartphones since childhood. Internet photos

Max Simon, 29, works in content creation for a small business in Toronto (Canada), said: “When I see a printer, I’m like, ‘Oh my God. Looks like I’m discovering an artifact, in a way’.”

Simon, who often creates funny videos about office life for his more than 220,000 followers on his TikTok channel, belongs to the millennial generation. He often sees himself as a mentor for Gen Z employees who feel lost and unfamiliar when using things like Google Suite or other common software.

“I would invite them to Google Meet and they would ask: ‘How do we get the link there?’. But the link is already in the invitation.” Simon shared. “Like, it’s 2023, and this is the world we live in. But seemingly simple things often catch Gen Z off guard.”

For Simon, there is one suitable person to blame: social networking apps. Apps like Instagram and TikTok are so easy to use that young people expect everything else to be as easy. And when things don’t go as expected, they’re more likely to give up.

“Takes 5 seconds to learn how to use TikTok”he said. “You don’t need an instruction manual, like in the face of a printer.”

GenZ's technological paradox: Understanding the internet and enough digital applications, but giving up in front of the printer - Photo 3.

Many recent graduates say they have not been trained in technology skills for the office environment. Getty Images

When it comes to completing simple tasks, Gen Z employees sometimes want to find a way to avoid it. Elizabeth, a 23-year-old engineer living in Los Angeles, avoids using an office printer at all costs. “I feel like I haven’t been taught what some people consider fundamental knowledge, and I’m too shy to ask,” she says.

And Bemiller accidentally broke a laptop because he didn’t know how to ask people for help. Every morning when he turned it on, he was greeted by a pop-up from the storage service Dropbox. He always clicked accept without reading anything. After a few months, the computer started running very slow. It usually turns itself off without warning. Bemiller couldn’t get any work done, and his manager ordered a new laptop.

By the time the replacement product arrived in the mail, the IT department had figured out the problem. As it turns out, every time Bemiller presses accept with a pop-up, it allows Dropbox to back up everything to the computer’s hard disk. It also allows the computer to back up everything to Dropbox.

“It’s constantly backing up everything to itself,” he shared. “The problem with that poor laptop still makes me laugh to this day.”

And that’s why sometimes company owners invite experts to help them with their grief. Jason Dorsey is the co-founder of Center for Generational Kinetics, a research firm based in Austin (USA). Managers often ask him to lead seminars to unite employees of all ages, and things often revolve around the battle with technology devices. In one exercise, he’ll put attendees in a circle, where they share various technological advancements they’ve experienced.

“That’s extremely human,” Dorsey said. “There will be one person who remembers the first color TV, another person who remembers the first answering machines, and one young man who remembers doing his first job on a smartphone. It helped us realize that this diversity of experiences is a strength.”

But at least one thing sets Gen Z workers apart from their older counterparts. It is young people who seem willing to learn and can quickly adapt to new skills. Even if it takes them time with the printer to fully master the art of scanning documents.

“GenZ is very comfortable experimenting with things they’ve never used before, because they’ve been doing it since they were kids.”Bench said. “They are used to trial and error. They may not be a godsend to the workforce – the kind of people who are born using Excel – but they are quick learners.”

Reference Guardian

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