My not-so tech savvy mom recently decided to join the modern world and trade in her flip phone for a smartphone. But of course she had no idea how to use it and needed someone to teach her. I was the obvious choice. After it took about two days to get her to understand that her iPhone is an Apple product, I knew we had a long road ahead of ourselves.
I’ll admit I was quite frustrated trying to teach her, but only because the first time I picked up an iPhone I instinctively knew how to use it. While helping my mom, I had to remember that she’s not tech savvy, she wasn't born in a generation full of high-tech devices like I was and that she’s had a flip phone for the past decade.
I had to teach her things like how to use Instagram because she’s a huge crafter and wanted to share her creativity, access her email, and download apps, which didn’t bug me. But, I also had to teach her simple things like how to answer the phone. Um, press the green button that says “answer”? We had some laughs though, like when she’d use auto text to text me but it would guess the words totally wrong and make a funny sentence.
If you find yourself teaching someone how to use a piece of technology, here are some tips:
- Be patient. They may drive you nuts asking obvious questions, but you have to remember, they really have no idea what they are doing.
- Show them. Don’t just tell them how to access their email, show them step-by-step and don't do it for them. Let them have the phone in their hand so they can develop some muscle memory.
- Have them write down steps as you talk. Then they have some directions to refer to later.
- If you don’t think you have the energy to teach your mom or grandma how to use a phone or tablet, you can buy how-to books at the bookstore or online for them. If they have an iPhone or iPad, sign them up for a free workshop at an Apple store. Many libraries offer free lessons on how to use smartphones and tablets as well.
Now that my mom has had her iPhone up and running for a few months, she’s certainly had time to perfect her skills. In fact, she has just as many followers on Instagram as I do now. Go mom!