Mum: "Can you show me how to use Skype?"
Mum: "Darling, I've sent an email to Aunt Jean but she hasn't received it. What's going on??"
Are you one of those lucky ones whom family and especially your mother always ask for help when it comes to doing anything tech-related? She gets a new smartphone, an iPad, TV set-top-box, even the microwave timer - are you the go-to-person? So how do you find teaching her all those things which you find trivial? Do you ever wonder why she doesn't quite get it despite you telling her again and again?
So what is the best way to teach your mother how to use the web?
Below, our computer tutors have shared their tips on what to keep in mind when helping your mum to use the computer, tablet and the Internet. Just think of the word PASSET.
Please note: these tips are also applicable to dads, granddads, grandmas, uncles & aunts, neighbours, relatives and friends, but since it’s Mother’s Day, let’s dedicate them to all the mums in the world!
How patient are you with your mum? Did you lose patience when teaching her to use the web? Did your mum lose patience when teaching you how to use the spoon? Unlike learning to use the spoon, learning to use the Internet, computer, tablet or smartphone is not a simple task. It takes time and effort to learn such a complex skill. You probably have years of practice but she might not. Besides, learning a new skill does not have to be difficult and unpleasant. It can be easy, fun and rewarding. So help her in whatever way you can and always always be patient.
Do you remember how much time she dedicated to helping you with your homework? It was probably many hours each week on top of her busy work and chores schedule. So why not repay for her kindness by sparing a few hours each week and giving her some quality 1-to-1 time when helping her with the computer?
Understandably, modern life style is hectic and time strapped. It is hard to spare a few moments. So how about making time especially for her? Instead of spending hours on things such as Facebook, Instagram, funny videos and selfies, give time to her.
Do you remember learning to count from one to ten? Did your mum tried to tell you all about trigonometry and differential equations at that time? That's right - she didn't. So why would you tell her about VoIP, VoD, WiFi, LTE, IoT etc... when all she wants to know is how to find the number 5 bus timetable online?
Always try to use simple language and avoid technical jargon as much as possible. Explain how things work in simple terms, simplify the concept and compare it to things she can relate to. For example, if she wants to know what the Internet is, instead of talking about routers and IP protocols, you could just explain that 'the Internet is like a messenger. It passes messages from one computer to another. It is a very large global computer network'.
If she asks about email, you can explain that 'it is similar to normal post (e.g. Royal Mail) but in a digital form. You have an address just like your postal address (email address), a post box (email account) and the delivery service (the Internet)'.
No doubt your mum is a smart woman. It's just that she wasn't brought up in a computerised world. If you are good at what you do, it means that she has raised you well. So she must be good, right? She might not have the computer /Internet education or experience that you do, but we can be sure that if she did, she would have been as good at it as you, or even better. So treat her with respect! Help her to understand, and explain things in a way she can relate to. It won’t be long before she becomes a master too!
Sometimes there are so many things to cover and so many steps to go through and you want to teach her everything in one go. Don’t! Cramming too much in one session becomes counter-productive. It is better to break things down into smaller, memorable and practical chunks and spread the teaching overload over multiple sessions, so that she can understand, practice, repeat and remember clearly.
Do you remember how much encouragement she gave you when - as a baby - you were learning to walk? So why not give her some encouragement too when she is learning to use the web?
One must ride a bike in order to learn to ride a bike. If she wants to master a skill, she needs to practice often. So always encourage her to try and to practice. Ask her what she would like to do or find online. It could be anything - checking the weather forecast, finding local gardening clubs or watching (catching up with) her favourite TV shows. Then think of the simplest way to achieve the goal, break down the steps and show her how to do it. Ask her to follow the steps, to make notes and repeat the steps a few times. A few days later ask her how she is getting on. Of course, don't forget to praise her!
Let her explore in a safe environment, assure her that she won't break the computer or tablet. You might want to tell her that the only way to break it is to drop it from the top of the Eiffel Tower! (But don't ask her to try it of course!) Tell her about the potential dangers of going online, show her how to stay safe and remind her not to disclose any personal or financial information online (unless there is a very good reason to do so).
To help her learn more effectively, you might want to assign some learning goals. But bear in mind that she might need time to learn and understand things, so there is a balance to strike. Always start with the easy things first and progress to the more advanced stuff.
If you think it would help her to learn faster, why not encourage her to sign up for a course, lesson or to join a local user group? You can help her find good local resources, try the local library, local U3A and UK Online Centres etc. If she prefers a more personalised and enjoyable experience, you might want to book a personal tutoring session or a computer course for her with one of our accredited computer tutors.
Your mum is always there for you. Why not repay for her kindness by being there for her when she needs your help with the computer?
There will be moments when she needs urgent help with something. It could be her email that's not working or a pop-up on her screen with which she doesn't know what to do. Whatever it is, be there for her. If possible, don't just fix the problem for her, but try to help her understand why it happened and teach her how to deal with the issue herself. So that when it happens next time, she will be able (or she will at least attempt) to deal with the issue herself. Her confidence will grow. And one day she might even stop calling you and then you will feel left out;)
So there you are, our six tips on how to teach your mum to use the web:
I hope you find these tips useful. I hope that you will try some of them and as a result get to spend some quality time with your mum, teaching her how to use the web. Believe me - it is extremely rewarding.
If you like this article, please feel free to LIKE and SHARE it with your friends. Comments are welcome.
Happy Mother’s Day. Have a wonderful time with your mum on this special day.
#HowTo #TechTips #digitalinclusion #
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