Greetings again from the darkness. As the world has become more connected, the greatest generation is being left behind in a cloud of digital dust. As pointed out by one of the teenage mentors, the generation gap is wider than ever. The good old days of three generations living together under one roof are gone, and quite often there is a great geographic distance between family members. Two teenage girls set out to close the gap by teaching senior citizens how to connect via the World Wide Web. Their project, Cyber-Seniors, is captured on film by director Saffron Cassady.
Taking place in a couple of Toronto Assisted Living Centers, the Cyber-Senior project has millennials making the rounds to tutor the residents on how to use a computer, and specifically, how to connect with distant family members. The film focuses on five individuals ranging in age from 77 to 93. While the seniors are absorbing the power of technology, the teenage mentors slowly come to realize the spirit of life and the interesting backstories of their much older pupils. Patience and a sense of humor are necessary for all parties involved, creating a very interesting, entertaining and meaningful story for the viewer.
Playing significant roles in the process are such items as Facebook, email, digital photos, chatting, online banking and Skype. There is a brief, but humorous segment on a dating site, but the real fun begins when 88 year old Shura creates a “cooking” video for YouTube. My guess is you will never again think of corn on the cob or grilled cheese the same. This leads to a YouTube contest, and this portion could have made a film unto itself, as each senior creates a video in line with their own personality – exercise, friendship, dating, and yes, even dental work. It’s fascinating to watch these folks flash some of their knowledge and personality.
The project itself is ambitious and worthwhile, but the real payoff comes as these fine people re-connect with their kids and grandkids and friends. While the humor and touching moments make for wonderful viewing, the film is a not so subtle reminder that everyone has something to offer, and we can all benefit from more personal interactions with those who mean so much to us. For other wonderful documentaries centered on senior citizens, see Young at Heart (2007) and Ping Pong (2012).
To see the trailer and learn more about the film, go to: