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Technology 101: A New Crash Course For Parents and Grandparents.

March 13, 2011

Introducing new technology to anyone can be tough especially when trying to teach our parents or grandparents. It seems that whenever something goes wrong with the computer, printer, cell phone or camera our loved ones create a honey do list. You know, honey do this and honey do that. In my family we refer to this person as the gofer, you go for this and you go for that. As the resident gofer, I was thrilled to read in USA Today about Google’s new website, TeachParentsTech.org. The recently launched website was designed to teach and educate our parents and grandparents on how to use and fix digital devices. According to USA Today the website, “Provides brief video instructions on everything from how to change a screen saver to creating a blog.” Since its December debut, the site has had over 1 million video views. Now technology can become the gofer, sweet.

There are many advantages of having your parents or grandparents become one with technology. For starters, I taught my mother to text message years ago. This came in handy especially when at the movies and taking calls isn’t exactly allowed. Instead we could text and keep in touch without her thinking I’m not answering and preparing to send out the squad units to find my exact location. Aside from child tracking, parents and grandparents can keep in touch with family members via email or social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Even my grandmother’s sister has a Facebook page. Get with it people. Features like video conferencing is especially useful for out-of-state relatives. Distance is a thing of the past once you know the basics of the internet and your computer. Think your older relatives aren’t ready to learn on their own yet? Here are a few tips from USA Today on the best ways for “taking seniors from tech-shy to tech-savvy.”

  1. Explain every step in detail, and be prepared to repeat it. Often. Don’t get frustrated when it doesn’t stick the first time or first twenty times you explain something. The best teachers are also the best listeners, know when to take a break and don’t overwhelm them with everything at once. It may seem easy to you but to them it’s like learning another language.
  2. Write it down.  Whether you send it via email or write a list they keep taped to the monitor, a list of tech do’s and dont’s is a must. Reference points are very helpful for not only reminding them what they learned but also keeps your honey do list shorter.
  3. Keep it useful and encourage experimentation.   Don’t give every detail about every little thing. Teach the basics, just enough to get the task at hand done. Make it relevant to them. If your grandparents love watching dogs salsa dance, show them how they can watch it on YouTube. Make sure you let them know that its ok to press buttons and tell them which ones will delete items they wish to keep.

Here at GAI (www.gunwel.com) we understand how overwhelming technology can be especially when it comes to money matters. We can help give you a sense of security when e-filing your taxes this year. We are happy to explain things step by step so you leave with the confidence knowing your financial information has reached the IRS safely and correctly. So give us a call at 212-979-6830 or stop by for a visit. We are open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturdays 8am-5pm.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2011 8:13 pm

    This was a great piece…thank you so much…I am currently going through the early stages of reluctance because my mother…who I couldn’t get to contribute to my own blogs now wants to start her own….I am afraid….very afraid…: ) But not so much anymore thanks to your posting.

  2. March 14, 2011 8:21 pm

    Hopefully with a little education your mom can get all the help she needs to put your fears to rest 🙂

    Thanks for reading!!

    Have a Great Day!!!

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