Q: We've recently moved and our children really miss their grandparents. I've tried to help my parents learn how to get online, how to use email and texting without much luck. My nine-year-old says he can help them. Is this a good idea or should I keep trying on my own? What tips do you have on teaching older people about using digital devices?
Our 10-year-old taught his grandmother how to work her new cell phone in a way that she picked up pretty quickly. She does live with us though, so that made it easier. I'd say to let your son try to help his grandparents. He can do this by first talking them through the process of getting online and then setting them up on an email account and going from there. It might work fine. - Tam W. in Wichita Falls, TX
From Jodie: There are many grandparents and older adults that already have digital devices but just don't understand how to use them to their advantage and lack the self-confidence to do so. Once they master it, they'll be very happy to learn that they can not only keep in touch with their loved ones, but also get crucial information, sign up for virtual social events and even classes with demonstrations to build more skills. Write down whatever you have tried to teach them so far and show it to your son. Ask him how he would explain those things to his grandparents. Allow him to elaborate on certain ones that you've tried to explain and to also add his own tips. By getting them to start off with simple steps, they can learn those by practicing to gain more confidence and better understanding. They can make their own notes and ask questions as they pop up. With many people now at home, this is a great time to come together virtually while helping friends and family feel better connected. It also lessens the feeling of isolation as well, which is important to all of us, especially older adults. It's super important for them to know about the risks involved in opening an email from people that they do not know including not clicking on links within suspicious emails and how to delete them. This goes hand in hand with their cell phones in answering calls or texts that they do not recognize. Of course, don't try to teach them too many things in one day unless they're willing to move forward quickly. It sounds like your son may possibly be the key in getting them up to date on digital devices and show them things that they will eventually really appreciate.
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