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CB South ‘Teens Teach Technology,’ helping seniors bridge digital gap during pandemic

by Stewart Gross

Senior citizens are one of the groups hit hardest by COVID-19.  Obviously, they are one of the groups at highest health risk from the virus. 

However, the fact that they were not born and raised in a digital world is also a huge challenge for them during the pandemic.

It has been much more difficult for seniors to use platforms such as Zoom to connect with relatives and friends and utilize other software to order groceries and other commodities online, simply because many have not used these technologies regularly or at all!

But currently their day-to-day survival and social connections almost completely depends upon it.

Enter Teens Teach Technology! 

The national organization was founded in Long Island, New York in May 2020, and several chapters have been established across the country.

Diya Hundiwala, a sophomore at Central Bucks South High School, has founded the Pennsylvania Teens Teach Technology chapter and a CB South sub-chapter to support seniors in the Pennsylvania community. She currently manages a team of 15 CB South students.

Her interest in founding the chapters was personally motivated.

“After observing the struggles of my grandmother with technology all the way over in Mumbai, India and watching her quickly adapt to new social media platforms with some guidance, I began to realize that millions of other seniors may be facing the same struggle, and they may not have anyone to help them.”

“Our presenters teach lessons on Zoom calls at libraries and nursing homes. A few of the libraries we teach lessons at are The Free Library of New Hope and Solebury, the Montgomery County/Norristown Public Library, the Abington Community Library, and the Gladwyne Library.  We recently worked with the Fox Subacute Nursing Facility in Mechanicsburg, PA. We work with libraries much more than nursing facilities because they are very hard hit with COVID and cannot easily facilitate meetings.”

Teens Teach Technology instructs seniors in a number of digital education areas.  They teach seniors how to use social media platforms to connect with friends and relatives. They instruct them in how to download these applications, open an account, and post photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

They teach seniors how to use Door Dash and Uber Eats to get food, New App and Kindle to keep-up with news and reading, Spotify and Apple iTunes for musical enjoyment, and Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu to watch television programming and stream movies. 

They teach seniors how to use all of the free Google products such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and Google Photos.

Probably the most important lesson they teach lonely seniors is how to connect socially with friends and family through apps such as Facetime, Skype and Zoom.

Unfortunately, non-tech savvy seniors are often the victims of cybercrime.

Teens Teach Technology trains them in Internet security such as identifying and blocking scam e-mails, and recognizing and avoiding phishing attacks.

They do similar training with seniors in how to handle scam phone calls.

According to Diya, “We are completely virtual and de-centralized throughout Pennsylvania, so even members in Pittsburgh can work with us virtually. We have 20 members throughout the state and 120 members throughout the US. Our teen chapter of 15 students at CB South is an official school club.”

According to Diya, “Teens Teach Technology is a meaningful initiative to give a helping hand to the elderly community during these challenging times while also allowing students to earn volunteer hours needed for applying to college and serve as members of the National Honor Society.”

“We are currently an unincorporated non-profit organization, although we would like to attain 501(c)3 status.”

The Pennsylvania Chapter invites any high school student who may be interested in volunteering with Teen Teach Technology to view their website for more details: www.teensteachtechnology.org

If you are an interested Central Bucks South Student, please e-mail cbsouthteensteachtech@gmail.com

PHOTO CAP: Diya Hundiwala

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