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Is There a Digital Divide In Your Family?
Do the Men In Your Family Do Tech Different Than the Ladies?

In my family, I have two brothers and two sisters, so our nuclear unit is made up of seven people, four men and three women. It has been interesting to watch how my parents and my brothers and sisters have approached and adopted technology - to see if they are early adopters, fast followers, laggards or simply opt out. No matter the tech, be it new gadgets or new Web services, the pattern is pretty standard in our home.

After me, I can expect my mother (+Terrie Gray) and youngest sister (+Malinda Gray) will try a product. They may not get deep into every single one and want to tell the world, like I do, but they form an opinion and generally know their stuff. In fact, at one point or another, both my mom and sister have worked for Apple. My mom worked for PowerSchool, which was part of Apple at one point, and my sister works in Apple Retail as an Apple Genius.

Beyond those two, however, there is a gap. My second sister and my oldest brother (+Jeremy Gray) may get accounts, but participation is pretty slim. And if you go further down the line, my dad and youngest brother are the least like to have any accounts or gadgets. Neither one of them has a Google+ account, and neither one has a Facebook account either. I remember years ago my dad wouldn't even sign up to the company newsletter I wrote until he had read through the company's privacy policy to ensure I wasn't going to give his email address away.

If you read much of the press, you'll come away thinking that men are the overwhelming early adopters. We're certainly the loudest. But on Google+, my wife (+Kristine Gray), mother and sister are here, and the rest of the family will need a small push. In extended family, I have aunts and female cousins who are here, but again, the men need a push. It's quite interesting to me to see that.

What is your experience? Does your family have the same digital divide, and how are you seeing geekiness spread by gender in your home?
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// image via Dreamstime.com (which I paid for and is a great service)
 
LOL! The divide is HUGE here -- I'm still trying to teach hubby how to use a mouse!
 
My husband insisted that I learn to use computers, back in the 80s. I didn't see the point but humored him. He created a monster. 
 
My family is mixed... I have a younger sister and a younger brother. Both like technology but my brother knows more (how to fix computers, explores new websites, etc.) My Dad has a Facebook but he rarely uses it. My Mom doesn't know how to use anything except for e-mail (Hotmail...) The worst part is that none of them are on Google+...
 
My wife just joined her first social network this week.
 
I have two brothers on here. They are my only relatives (including distant) who have joined. None of my sisters, nor my mom or dad have joined yet.
 
My girlfriend is an associate adapter. If it wasn't for me, she wouldn't be on Google+ (a site in which she RARELY contributes to), use GoogleTV or have an Android. She does the normal Facebook stuff and can get around pretty well on a computer. She is more familiar with stuff like Excel than I am.

My mom is a technology disaster, though after about a year with her first laptop, she began to see the benefits of a faster computer (she had a windows 98 computer, yes thats right, 98) and her frustration has gone down. Since then she has gotten an iPhone, frequently uses projectors and laptops while teaching and is really starting to 'enjoy' technology.

My sister uses tech by necessity, if she doesn't need it to do her daily tasks she doesn't want it. She appreciates what they do, but will not go out over her way unless there is some practicality to it.

My brother, the most tech savvy in terms of technology as a whole, does sales for a tech company in boston (Cisco Systems is a client of his). He can set up a company's entire infrastructure yet barely knows his way around a personal laptop/smartphone.
 
Between my parents, 2 older sisters, wife, and in-laws, I am essentially the only one that is an early adopter of anything. I'm constantly trying to drag my family into the present day.
 
I'm not sure that social network adoption is the same as tech adoption. Mum and sister were keen to sign up for Google+ and they already get a lot of use out of facebook. Dad much more likely to know about latest PC technology.

None of them are very keen on smartphones though - sister has an iPhone but she got it years after it become mainstream.
 
It's very divided in our house. I am 41 and have been fascinated by computers since the age of 11 (Sinclare ZX81), and my son is 12 and he has used a computer since the age of about two and it's hard to get him off it; however, my daughter is nine and she has little interest in the computers, apart from playing a make-up game online. My wife uses the computer for emails and FB and my son and I bore them with our computer geek chat.
 
Well, if advertising has taught me anything, I would say that women always us a laptop, without shoes while sitting somewhere that is not a desk (bed, couch, floor, etc). And they always are happy and laughing at whatever is on the screen! Women never use a grandpa box, or sit in ergonomic positions it seems, lol! But really, you can't always believe what you see in ads. ;-)
 
Upload the cartoons of the Teletubbies and my daughter will be registered to Google + :)
 
For me it has been a clear divide. Men vs. Women, but the degree of usage varies. My Mom and Sis have cell phones and my sis uses her computer minimally, but that is about the extent of their tech savvy. The men in my family however, have embraced tech for the most part. I am the only one of the men on G+ and fb, but the rest do have fb accts. My dad is rather minimal as well, but he knows much more than my mom. My brother, who is no longer with us, was pretty on top of things. He would get the new phones that came out, etc. Even my grandpa got a computer years ago and took the time to learn it and knows more than most of his generation.
 
+Louis Gray My wife (+Lynea Tomlinson) would be considered "tech savvy" by today's standards. She runs Linux as a primary desktop OS, has a rooted android phone, and isn't afraid of some CLI wizardry (witchery?). Before I met her in high school, Hotmail and MySpace were the big things that she used but she didn't really have much in the way of system knowledge.

My two daughters were raised on computers. From the time that they could hold their heads up, they were allowed to press buttons on my laptop (R.I.P.). Now they both run Sabayon Linux, have root, and are learning the CLI. To them it is all second nature.

I'm the leading "Tech Nut" in the family and our extended family. My brothers know enough to hurt themselves, my uncles are still learning (the oldest of which is ~40) my aunt's are, meh, and my grandparents (Bless their hearts) can do small tasks. Male or female doesn't appear to matter so much as exposure. My children were (and are) exposed at a young age and are therefore more comfortable than my uncles who never really had a use for a computer outside of the odd game (until recently).

I don't think that it's so much of a gender divide, but more of a how was this presented from the get go divide. Boys get in early on because of video games, what would happen with girls if you showed them how to render 3D art? How you could design toys and clothes? How you could create animations? These are all things that my little girls are into (as well as Barbie and the mess of clothes that comes with that) and it has helped to get them interested in technology and wanting to learn more.

Thank the interwebz that they also like flash games (G+ Games rock as babysitters!) :P
 
Both my parents are programmers, and had my brother and I programing in basic in 1980. While we were kids, my brother was way more savvy than me, I think because he was more motivated by the gaming world and industry.

Now my dad and I are the ones keeping most current with the computer world. I think my brother is more of a power user, and my mom is just pretty happy doing her part to keep FidoNet alive (which is scary in and of itself).

My boys are all happy to play on the computer, but none of them seem to have the same fidget gene as my dad and I - to see how things work.
 
I try everything first. I was on Google+ the first day and will sign up and test pretty much anything I come across. I don't usually stay, but I always try and have a go. My husband doesn't have the same interest at all. He'll try something if I send him an invite, but basically he doesn't care & rarely stays. My sons - both are too small to know yet, but it looks like they will take after me.

My father was an early adopter. We had a computer in 1985. My mom still doesn't know how to turn on her computer. My oldest brother is tech-phobic and my middle brother can handle himself pretty well. He loves his Mac.
 
I like the points that +Daniel White and +Brian Tomlinson make - tech and social media are two different things and early exposure are the keys here. We have a 2 female/3 male household with kids at home and there's no gender difference in our collective fascination with all things digital and tech and the kids would do social in a minute if they were old enough. In our extended family (parents, siblings, uncles/cousins) the women have embraced social media more than the men, but the men were exposed to more tech (through work requirements - computers, cellphones) and therefore are more tech savvy.
 
But today's children are very cute and if they can learn in a short time.
 
In my family, I'm definitely the early adopter. My dad works at Dell, and he's the second earliest adopter. My sister is slightly technology-savvy, while the rest of my siblings are too young. My mom...well, that's a different story, lol.
 
The women in my family are more open, expect not to master tech right away. The men immediately go to, "How am I going to control this?" It gets in the way of their exploration.
 
At my home my mom always keeps herself busy in watching daily soaps....:P
 
My wife and our parents are comfortable with technology, but not particularly aggressive about it. They use email, and shop online, but are not much into social media.

My kids, though, thats going to be something. They expect everything to be networked and connected. They expect whatever screen they see to respond to touch and gesture control, and (increasingly) they expect stuff to respond to spoken input.
 
There is a huge digital divide in my family.The divide is most obvious in our social activity and choices. The women are content with just Facebook (their comfort zone), while the guys have been much more 'daring' to branch out and try Twitter, G+, foursquare, etc.
 
Doesn't follow through in my family. I am the tech god to them. I'm not exactly a tech god; except in comparison to them. The few family members that have adopted tech I've "encouraged" the rest flat refuse to get involved but are infinitely fascinated by what I do. Interesting paradox.
 
My home includes myself (43), my wife (who would kill me if I reported her age), and two children in elementary school. I'm the early adopter because I enjoy playing with new toys and really think of these things as fun. I read technology news and try things on without much of any hesitation. Then I form hard-core opinions about all of it and shout it at the world.

My wife uses tools. She doesn't care what OS she's on so long as she can type, email, and use Facebook. She wishes that photo stuff was a lot easier and is (im)patiently waiting for me to offer a better solution.

My kids, two girls, think about technology as I think about window glass: they go right through it to whatever they want to do. There is no hesitation. I can imagine that they might get very interested in the technology or they might disregard it as they work on creating things.

There aren't so much divides in our family as points of view.

While I've been playing with these things for thirty years, what my kids and wife do now wasn't easy and sometimes wasn't possible ten years ago. To think of one digitality is to forget that we have passed through several and continue to pass through them quickly.
 
No divide in our house. I had a computer before my husband and I don't use it for shopping, as one poster said women do. I work hard and I need a heavy duty computer. I have one desktop replacement, one smaller laptop, and a netbook and nearly always have two of them operating at once to handle what I'm doing. My girls are as much into computers as my son--and one earns side money teaching people how to use computers. I normally hate shopping but I have to really use self-control when it comes to books (both print and ebook) and to computers.
 
I'm pretty much a lone ranger in my family, except for a few that have finally come aboard over on Facebook, but just in the last year or so.
 
It is devided very mucn in my family. I'm a new technology adopter, having almost all the SNS accounts (FB, Twitter, Linkedin, China's Weibo and QQ, Weibo and G+ are frequently used). My wife, +易琴 ,seldom uses it. My parents, who are 70, never use computers. My brothers and sister don't use SNS. But my nephews and nieces enjoy China's QQ.
PS: I learnt a new phrase from your post: nuclear unit / nuclear family. Thank you.
 
Me, my wife, and my son are all heavy computer and internet users since teen age. (Well, me and my wife didn't have internet access in teen age, and had to resort to fidonet in early 90s, before internet was easily available.) My wife and son are avid gamers (they even play together sometimes); I am not.
My daughter is still too young to really use a computer, but she's so used to watching cartoons on a computer screen sitting on my lap that she fails to recognize a TV as a separate device and considers it a computer, too (which his increasingly true).
My father is a rather moderate computer and internet user, despite being a rocket engineer. We'd write an occasional email to each other. My mother is extremely computer-shy; she insists on having the simplest mobile phone possible.
My wife's father, being a college teacher, uses computers much enough, but the internet does not excite him at all. My wife's brother is an enthusiastic computer user: mostly for photography, video processing and design, besides gaming.
Well, not bad.
 
There are several digital divides, but they don't follow the stereotypes exactly, except where 21-year-old Sarah is concerned. She and I are way ahead of Dick, Jojo and my father on social media, but that's also partly because she's a journalism student - she has turned us into a Twitter family. She is also, however, a GIRL. (By choice. I am a broad.) She only started running her own Software Update when she went away to college, and as soon as away was Boston instead of Melbourne, a lot of tasks reverted to Mom and Dad that she handled herself for that first semester.

I have only recently quit fixing hardware, because my new machine is a long-term rental. A local reseller here has a program called New Computer Every Two Years For Life, and that makes a lot more sense for me than Drive Your Machine Into The Ground For Five Years - our other plan. That probably works better for people who mostly use iWork and social media - not the Creative Suite and motion apps.

Dick is building a Frankentosh - an Intel Atom processor motherboard that will squeeze into an old dome iMac case - but I egged him into it and hope someday to build a Hack Pro tower myself. (When I'm 70? Kinda don't have time now . . .)
 
Myself and son (17) are the early adopters - daughter/wife less so, though there are some things they jump at (video streaming/catchup, facebook etc)

My wife kept saying she had no desire for a fancy phone and at last renewal went for a HTC Sensation on a friends recommendation, intentionally not going with my suggestion as it was the same phone I had (SGS2!)

Anyway she loves it and is definately more into apps, mobile uploading etc, probably most technical step forward beyond text/calls for a long time ...
 
My mother shares with me the geekiness, controversially my dad and my sister don't even bother about anything tech related. It's really fun at the same time it's crazy, when I know something that my mother doesn't I work in the borders trying to not be snob, if I don't is always like: "Ooh!!! He knows everything".
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