I was sitting in Starbucks yesterday. I overheard some middle-aged woman talking about how she isn't a "technology person."
I pity her. She is at such an enormous competitive disadvantage in the workplace, and will continue to fall behind in the competitive labor market with every passing day. And she has no idea about any of this.
In 2013 in the United States there is no excuse for anyone under the age of 55 to not be proficient with computers. I'm not just an outspoken youth imposing my will and view of the world on others (Sorry Christians, you do NOT have the right to ban me from buying alcohol on Sundays in Texas. The only people you're punishing are the people that didn't plan). I recognize that in this country, I'm going to use a computer everyday until I die. And I'm not special. So will everyone else. Computers will continue to become more integral to our lives in the future, not less.
If you have friends, especially younger friends, that aren't proficient with computers, please for the love of God help them. Understanding the basics of computing will deliver tremendous financial and lifestyle value. Encourage them to learn the basics - what's an OS, how to browse files in the file browser, the difference between a web-browser and a file-browser, how applications open and save files, etc. In a little over 5 years, multi-touch smartphones transformed society. Over the next 5 years, wearable computing and the Internet of things will transform society again. In 10 years, again. Who knows what computers are going to look like in 2023? Learn the basics now to Excel in the future.