Interestingly, it also turns the tables on the age game.
With the social media age at its peak, just about everyone is liking, sharing and posting. In fact your pensioner parents are likely to have more time on their hands for social media than you.
Whether they were initially prompted by the desire to communicate with children living abroad, or more cost effective ways in which to communicate with family and friends, they’re online and we reckon it’s your responsibility to help them navigate the tech-sphere.
We’ve roped in a few “experts” (AKA the HDI Youth Marketeers’ Junior Board of Directors) to share their tips on how to deal with having the Tech Talk with ageing folks. Here’s their advice...
Avoid using jargon and be patient
Simplicity goes a long way, so avoid using tech-speak. Your parents may not know what you mean by using words like browser or cookies. Also, allow them to try what they learnt on their own and help them master this. If all they want to do is send a text message without predictive text ruining it, so be it. Don’t be hasty, and resist the urge to do things for them.
Repetition is key
Take them through the basics on what to do and repeat it a couple of times so that they fully understand. Posting a picture to Facebook might never have been as hard, but try to be calm at all times or you could find yourself with an argument on your hands.
Cover just the basics
It can be completely overwhelming for a newbie to the tech world. Go a level lower than the basics, and remember to stay calm! A simple thing such as being able to tell when a WhatsApp message has been received and read by a recipient can be apart of a valuable lesson. When it comes to social media platforms, show them how to use hashtags correctly or how to check in on Facebook.
What is socially acceptable
There’s an unwritten rule on social media. Thou shalt not send a friend request to your adult child on Facebook; and thou shalt not stalk said child to find out what they’re up to.
However, if you’re happy to befriend your folks on Facebook far be it for us to stop you. However, do make sure their profile is attractive, ie the picture is upright and if it’s a selfie, it has filters at least.
To tweet or not to tweet?
This exercise is aimed at parents with devices they’re itching to use. Help them do what they want while guarding against forcing them into spaces they may not want to be in. When it comes to platforms such as Twitter, if they don’t grasp the concept of who they’re talking to, rather leave it out.
Keep calm and carry on
Did we mention to keep calm? Just remember who potty trained you once upon a time. If your parent needs glasses for this tutorial please make sure they have them on. Note then, you may have to go through a point a few times. While you may get annoyed just imagine the big smile on their face once they’ve posted their first picture to Instagram!
Organise a mini photo shoot and selfie workshop so your mom or dad is able to maintain their online status with great pictures. Let them know the importance of posting quality pictures to get more likes and followers. But don’t let it become an obsession and a competition for the most likes. You know the story: “Why does Aunty Marge have more likes than mine?”
About those likes...
Encourage them on what to post and how to post statuses, captions and upload pictures, etc. Timing is everything to cash in likes or arouse engaging conversations with their friends online.
Mobile and desktop savvy
Ensure that they can master both the app and desktop versions of the platforms they have chosen to be on. That way they can be in constant contact with their friends and family.
You’ve created a monster, now what?
They’ve got the basics down, even managed to use a hashtag correctly. But now you’ve given them a taste of another world. They can’t be stopped – constantly on their phones; sending your friends friend requests and posting that baby picture of you in the bath for #TBT (that’s throwback Thursday for y’all that don’t know). Relax, your folks are now members of the tech age – embrace it.