'Millenniors' from barangays Dalipuga and Santiago can now showcase their selfies on their own Facebook accounts and search for their favorite videos on YouTube.
No one was more excited to join the #SmartMillenniors training than Lourdes Atoc, a senior citizen from Dalipuga, Iligan City, who came hours before the scheduled meeting time at their barangay hall.
“I have a smartphone which my child sent me, but since I had very little knowledge about using it, I often left it at home”, she said. “When I heard about the Smart Millenniors program, I was very enthusiastic because I would finally be able to learn more about how to use my smartphone and connect with my children and relatives abroad.”
Seniors from Dalipuga and Santiago in Iligan City comprised the first batch of Smart Millenniors in Mindanao. Assisted by the students from the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) School of Computer Studies-Executive Council, the seniors learned how to set up a Facebook account, take selfies and search for their favorite videos on YouTube.
“Millenniors” is a play on the words “millennials”, who are known to be tech savvy, and “seniors”. The program aims to teach the elderly about technology, specifically the use of smartphones, mobile data and social media.
Dorina Naldo, the secretary of Brgy. Dalipuga seniors’ association, said she had no interest in gadgets and social media before. Listening to music on the radio and watching news on television were part of her routine - until she discovered smartphones and YouTube.
“Taking selfies was fun and I got even more excited with YouTube. I never knew that I could play songs from my favorite artists, like Victor Wood and Tom Jones, which are seldom played in radio these days. The best part is, I can play it anytime. I am very happy that everything I love, from music to news, is all here,” she shared excitedly.
Among the student-volunteers was Ryan Lagura, the former head of the student council. “Some seniors are intimidated by the thought of technology. With this program, it becomes easier for them to embrace technology and discover new things to connect with their loved ones”, Lagura said.
Marl Ligan, the current head of the council, said the activity is much more than just teaching the elders about social media, it also gives them an idea on the risks of technology, which they can share with their grandchildren, too.
The Smart Millenniors program is one of Smart’s advocacies to make technology more inclusive and accessible to more Filipinos.
"We are getting closer to our goal of making Internet truly for all, as more seniors participate in the Smart Millenniors program,” said Smart Public Affairs head Ramon Isberto. “As the world becomes increasingly digital, we are working to make sure that nobody gets left behind.”
“With this program, Smart is reiterating its commitment to bring digital learning to everyone, regardless of age,” said Stephanie Orlino, Smart Community Partnerships senior manager. “We look forward to partnering with more communities for this initiative.”