How to help your parents with technology?


Beta member
Hi, I was just wondering what your guys opinions were on teaching technology to your parents? Specifically relating to PC's and Andriods, because I keep getting asked by my mom and pap to teach them things about their smartphones and computers. What are some of your experiences with this? Thanks


Daemon Poster
One of the problems that you will come across is the fact that you are their son/daughter (sorry I do not know your gender) and they will not take kindly to you "teaching" them anything. It's similar to working with your parents. I tried that and it just doesn't work in the majority of cases, it certainly didn't in my case. So if you are going to do it then softly softly, slowly slowy, and with a massive amount of diplomacy, something you youngsters are not overly endowed with I'm afraid. I do teach computers and I am an older person (65) and one of the most common complaints I hear from older parents who have been "taught" by their offspring is that "they just go too fast and they get annoyed when I keep asking questions." So if you are going to do it, and to be honest my advice is don't, then take it slow. You were brought up with computers they weren't. Using a mouse and keyboard to draw a picture is completely and utterly alien to them. They will pick it up they will, almost certainly, become as good as you or even better if they persevere, but the initial learning curve is very very steep indeed for them.
Just like teaching kids, use a lot of hands on, a lot of drawings, and a lot of repetition, just because you said it 1000 times already doesn't mean they heard it once.

Show them a task as you do it slowly with them watching and describe each subtle movement and touch than you never think about. Then they do the task with you guiding when they get stuck.
Then they do it again, same way, and after they no longer get stuck, then they do it again later that day, and the following day, and then the following evening. and the day after.
The reason for so much repetition with breaks, is that's how the brain creates memories, you retrace the engram path to the cortex by doing it 3 times a day, morning noon and night before bed, sleep will allow the brain to form new synapses and exercise during the day will allow increased formation as well, so teach a thing, and have them go for a jog, play a game of boccie, ride a bike, have a swim or a walk etc. Then do more teaching (or have them repeat the process you taught with the notes they took) and repeat the break with more exerciser or other activities, then they need to go over it again at bed time.
Staring at a thing for hours or reciting a poem a hundred times doesn't build the engrams like 15 minutes or so of learning, followed by resting the brain and repeating 3 times a day for a week.

Some information on the function of memory and learning.


Fully Optimized
Haha, patience is key! Just like the others have said. My mom is always needing assistance with her computer and her chromecast. She'll get frustrated, then in turn- I get frustrated too. A viscous cycle.

But I've really changed my approach and my outlook now. She's upset with the computer- not me. So I just let my own frustration go. I used to try to explain the how and why of how things work under the hood, but I don't anymore. She won't remember it, and she doesn't need to. I just try to make things as simple as possible, and work with her calmly, at her pace.

I spent many years growing up being frustrated with my parents for unjustified reasons. Not being appreciative enough of all that they do. I know I was a handful at times. So if it takes my entire Saturday to show mom how to use the Chromecast, so be it. It's the least I can do.


Grandfather of Techist, , ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Staff member
The South
I am lucky in that my mom is one sharp cookie and is decent with computers, even if she is 75 years old. She does decent with her Android phone but will ask me some things every now and then.

My mother-in-law... not so much.


Fully Optimized
England, Birmingham
Depends on the parent... my mum is great with her iPad but terrible with a laptop. My dad is okay on a laptop and terrible with an iPad lol. It's difficult to call it "learning" though, as it always seems to be the same questions!

Or the classic "Joe, how did you do that?" "I googled it"