Have you noticed an edge in your mother's voice when she says she couldn't open a picture you emailed her? Or is there more of an anxious tremor when she asks how to open “the text messaging.”
There are good reasons for these edgy and anxious moments. Our loved ones know they're missing precious places to connect with us and they want to stay in the loop!
To properly engage your loved one using technology, start by recognizing desperation. Gadgets that we consider necessary for bridging communication can inadvertently create an enormous gulf. The situation is akin to pioneering families who couldn't access a photograph from far-flung relatives because they couldn't read the directions for opening a trunk that holds it. They know the precious contents are there, but getting to them seems nearly impossible.
Making this basic shift in recognizing frustration goes a long way in bolstering your patience with a loved one’s technology helplessness.
The next step is to synch up with the loved one in some thoughtful way. For example, if your parents have a Gmail account, get a free one for yourself. That way, a missing email can be tracked down more easily. You’ll be able to give specific directions, like “Click on the folders” on the left side, “Do you see the folder called ‘Spam’?” “No?” “Click the word ‘More’ and ‘Spam’ should come up below the line.” These specific instructions are more useful when you can see an identical screen.
They are a big improvement over issuing general directions like, “Check the Junk mail folder.” Your loved one might not be familiar with these terms or use the same synonyms that you attach to technology, “spam” and “junk,” etc. Even though your general directions make perfect sense, they will be more effective when they’re tied directly to the screen that your loved one is viewing.
By applying these two steps, you can teach your loved ones valuable skills while restoring peace to your relationship.
If this seems too difficult, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a personal tutoring session for your loved one.
Gilbert Gadget Girl