Wii, TeeBeeDee, and other Tech Tools for Older Adults

December 5, 2007 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

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The recent news has been flooded with information on the latest technology tools and websites being used by, or marketed to, older adults.  Of particular interest are social networking sites and video games.

While most people are familiar with social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook — favored amongst Gen X and Y — a recent MSN article, Niche Social Networks Vie for Attention, featured social networking sites for all ages and social groups.  Two sites geared towards Baby Boomers and older adults are TeeBeeDee, launched by Parenting magazine’s founder Robin Wolaner, and Eons, launched by former Monster.com executive Jeffery Taylor.  Both sites boast membership numbers in the tens of thousands, with celebrity member profiles such as Barack Obama.

These sites may pose a counterpoint to the youth focuses social sites, but some libraries have chosen to cross age barriers when delving into new technology.  Old Bridge Public Library in New Jersey was recently featured in an article for their intergenerational program which uses Nintendo’s Wii  Bowling and the latest gaming sensation Guitar Hero.  The article, “Old Bridge Library Unites Generations” relates how these interactive games have both provided socializing across generations and opened up avenues for older adult to simultaneously return to old hobbies and learn new technology.  A similar article in USA Today article, “Tech Giants Target Boomers — and Their Cash” notes how the Wii has been used in other locations such as senior centers and, amongst other innovative technologies, is on the rise in personal purchases among Boomers.

These new possibilities may open up doors for innovative library programs, diversified computer and technology courses, and deeper social connections.  How has your library used these tools? Or what new ideas has this information has produced for your library?  Do you feel that these programs and sites would be successful among the older adults in your community?

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