Mother vs Technology

My mom, like most older people, isn’t very technologically attuned. While she isn’t like one of those stories where people mistake the CD-ROM in the computer as a cup holder, she had trouble figuring out our VCR. Considering what her job is, which has something to do with studio editing equipment, you’d think a VCR is a piece of cake for her.

She used to use my computer whenever I’m not home. I made things simple for her by pointing out where the on/off switch is, I dragged the Internet Explorer icon to the centre of the desktop and renamed it as INTERNET, and I made sure she learnt how to properly shut down the computer by NOT pressing the on/off switch. when my brother got her a Macbook (coz it’s the only machine where he’s assured she won’t accidentally download a million viruses), she amazingly took to it quite well. I taught her how to use the trackpad (one finger for cursor, two fingers for right click, three fingers for…) and she flew like a bird with new wings. Except when she couldn’t find where to play her DVD until i pointed out to her that it is the slit on the right side of the Macbook. she thought that was a stupid place to put a DVD player.

However, not all things are as easy as it seems. She recently got herself an iPhone and she’s mighty pleased about it. Not so for me though. It took me an entire night to teach her how to manouver around the iPhone with the single home button. when i showed her how to close programs which are running in the background and i saw her frowning, I knew it was where we all lost the plot. the next night, our lesson was what’s the difference between pressing the Home button and the on/off button at the top and what it does to the screen display. it was during this lesson that I realised my mom has been powering off her phone every night to “save electricity”. last night, she showed me that when she tilted her iPhone to the side, the pictures turn to landscape mode. she then asked how does she make it turn back to portrait mode. I took her phone, flip it back up and she had the biggest “OOOHHH” expression.

Walowitz teaching his mother to use the computer

just as I was typing this, my mom asked yet another question: do computers log you out of your email if you forget to? after taking a deep breath, i explained whether it matters if you’re on a private or public computer, what the “keep me logged in” button means.

I must admit despite all my complaining and sighing, I’m impressed by my mother’s tenacity to want to learn these things, and that she picks it up pretty okay after explaining to her in great detail. of course this doesn’t stop me from taking the mickey out of her when she ask questions like “how does starhub charge you for surfing charges?” to which I said, “every page you click they charge you 5cents. so don’t anyhow click refresh.” her expression was priceless.


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