How to Teach Your Parent to be Tech Saavy

Have you ever got a call from your parent or Grandparent asking you for tech advice? Well, you’re not alone. Or maybe you’re a parent yourself and have had to make that call. Either way, here are some tips to help you maximize education and minimize frustration.

1- Set Expectations Appropriately

It’s important to remember that your parents did not grow up with technology the same way you did– no matter what kind of age-difference we’re talking about. Technology has advanced so rapidly it can be easy for younger generations to forget that the internet and all its interrelated gadgets are a fairly new phenomenon. If you keep this in mind it becomes a lot easier to keep your cool. Be patient with your parents– after all they were patient with you when they taught you…well pretty much everything? And parents, remember patience is a virtue– and we’re not all saints.

2- Provide Written Instructions

Did you ever have a really bad math teacher? I did. In class, I thought I understood all the steps but when I got home I was so confused because I didn’t understand how we got from one step to another. Make sure your written instructions are as clear as possible.

Here’s a FixMeStick related example:

  1. Go to the File Explorer and find FixMeStick. Open it.
  2. Click through the licence agreement.
  3. Click “Reboot and Start”

These are BAD instructions because they skip over some important details and the first step combines a few steps. Here’s what the instructions should look like:

  1. Open up your File Explorer. You can access it by left clicking on the icon at the bottom of the screen that looks like a yellow file folder with a little blue holder. If you don’t see it there, right click on the Windows symbol in the bottom left hand corner. File Explorer should be about five from the bottom of the dialogue box.
  2. Once File Explorer is open, locate the FixMeStick listed on the left hand side. Left click once.
  3. To the right, you should see the “Getting Started Guides” in a few different languages. At the bottom you should see “FixMeStick”. Double left click on “FixMeStick”
  4. Accept the terms and conditions of the licence agreement. This should take you to a screen that says “What Happens Next”. Underneath that, you should see a big red button that says “Reboot and Start FixMeStick”. Left click once– this should launch you into the program successfully.

These are GOOD instructions because they explain things visually. But these are just general guidelines, you know your parents better than most people and there is a reason they are turning to you for help. Think about your parents’ technical literacy and alter your instructions to reflect that– they might need to be even more detailed.

Taking more time and care in the initial explanation and instruction will result in less calls down the road and help your parent to learn how to do these operations on their own. For parents, don’t be afraid to ask for these kinds of detailed instructions! You are learning a new skill and honing your technical literacy– and that’s awesome! It’s important to remember you’ll need to start with the basics and take your time. After all, you didn’t learn to read by immediately reading War and Peace so start with the maximum amount of clarity.

3- Use Additional Resources

How can you really drive home the point in your lessons? By using technology of course! Google has created a series of videos dedicated to teaching parents some basic computer operations that range from how to copy and paste to how to check on your flight status.

There are all kinds of learners out there! Maybe your parents like hearing someone explain things even though they have the written instructions or maybe they just need a refresher every once and awhile. Either way, these tutorials are a great way to stay savvy.

With that in mind, don’t forget that we publish a FixMeTip every other week to help you learn more about your computer and online safety in general. This week, we wrote about how to set-up parental control settings on your computer— complete with pictures!