Be the IT Guy for Your Parents

techie kidBeing IT-literate in today’s tech age is a must, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. For generations born with smartphones in their hands, downloading apps, simple troubleshooting and other tech-related processes come easily. But for the parents of these generations, keeping up may be difficult.

So before you hand off that iPhone or Android phone to your mom or dad, make sure you take the time or be ready to do following for them:

1.    Explain that the internet needs to be active and stable for them to do anything besides call and text.
Sometimes, parents think that technology is so seamless that as long as something is turned on, everything should work in harmonious concert. Expect that they won’t ask you unless they haven’t already tried what they think is right. Before anything else, you should explain what the internet is and how to access it. Include the different kinds of connections and how to set up their own.

2. Explain the importance of passwords, login information and security.
Just so you’re clear, tell them that any password and login name is as sacred as their ATM PIN or their signature. A clear picture of the dangers online life can pose is a good way to keep them wary. In this case, it’s better that they don’t try anything before calling your attention. Tell them that a Facebook account can log you in to most sites, but it’s better to set up your own accounts to avoid problems in case someone hacks their services. Teach them what makes a good password and how to protect themselves from online fraud. Explain scenarios on what may happen if someone manages to get their credit card information, VoIP service password or social media accounts.

3. Download essential apps for them.
After they understand that an internet connection is essential to their tech experience, it’s time to introduce them to apps. The best way to do so is to get the most popular apps for messaging, music, social media and some games. Show them what these apps are for, how people use them and why they’re popular. Show them how to use the Facebook app or the iMessage app if they’re using an iPhone.

4. Tell them not to mess with the settings unless they know what they’re doing.
Since you’ve set everything up for them to make things easy, having them fiddle around with things they don’t understand such as account settings and such (especially on Android phones) may result in incovenience or disaster. It may be wise to tell them why messing with certain settings can actually brick their phone or wipe important data. With the iPhone, there’s less to worry about since iOS itself doesn’t want you messing with things.

5. Show them how to charge and sync the device with the PC.
Lastly, you should show them how to transfer files from their phone to their PC and vice versa. Now, this is where it can get tricky with the iPhone, since iTunes is confusing. Just be patient and show them that you can only actually fiddle around with your iPhone with iTunes. Android phones can be considered big, complex USB devices, and your only concern is for them to know which folders they’re allowed to touch.