Remember the days when kids were to be seen and not heard?
Those days are long gone, partially thanks to the seemingly unending adoption of new technologies that has taken place over the last 20 years. From the time we first asked our kids for help programming our cell phones and VCRs, they have become an integral part of the family decision-making process when it comes to technology. Fast forward to today. Now, from learning how to configure tablets and computers to understanding the nuances of social media – it’s clear that inter-generational relationships are becoming an important tool in learning about new technology.
Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Company’s resident futurist and Global Consumer Trends Manager, believes this generational shift could be heading to the road soon. “We’ve seen a marked shift in the way generations interact. The next frontier into which the more senior among us could be shepherded by our children and grandchildren could very well be utilizing more driver assist technologies behind the wheel.”
Connelly points out that with more vehicles being manufactured with driver assist and semi-autonomous technologies we could once again be turning to our kids and grandkids for help in understanding and taking full advantage of these innovative technologies. In fact, in 2015 Ford offers more nameplates in the United States with active park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping aid, and blind spot monitoring than any other non-premium mainstream manufacturer, according to SBD research. These technologies are helping seniors who are not ready to hand over the car keys.
“My siblings and I don’t think it’s time for our mom to stop driving yet” says Connelly, “but we do realize it is a question we will probably need to discuss in the future. Perhaps all she’ll need is a new car with technologies that help her behind the wheel and most importantly, helps bolster her sense of freedom and independence.”
For many families, the relationship between parent, or grandparent and child will continue to transform as younger generations embrace this new role.