“Son, how do you download Candy Crush?”
“Son, how do you sync music from ITunes into the phone?”

These are probably some of the FAQs which you hear from parents these days. Phone/Tablet complexity has taken a quantum leap in the past decade and it has left some of the elderly behind. To help your parents cope with the overwhelming changes in Smartphone/Tablet technology, here are some useful tips for you:

1) Switch the Language

One may start by switching the language used in the phone to one which the user is familiar with. Our parents may be comfortable speaking in English, but that does not necessarily mean their reading skills are competent. Try switching the display language to Mandarin, Bahasa, Tamil etc.! Then , they would be able to navigate through the various settings and functions with greater ease!

  • Parents will realise that everything that they need is already stated on the smartphone
  • They would be also able to refer to the ‘Help’ manual provided without any additional assistance.

2) Provide Progressive Learning

Your parents may not be a fast-learner when it comes to using smart gadgets. Therefore, progressive learning is of paramount importance in growing their confidence and proficiency in handling these devices.

  • Always be patient when teaching them. Though it may be time-consuming and frustrating at times, keep yourself calm and do not lose your head!
  • Mentally prepare yourself; They may be inquisitive and curious about many things, just like how you were when you were a kid.
  • Having a hardworking student is never enough, you, as a teacher this time round, have to be equally diligent too. Conduct your “lessons” regularly so that they have the opportunity to “practise” everyday.
  • The sense of satisfaction you receive when you see your parents downloading Candy Crush without any forms of impediment at the end of the day is ineffable.

3) Make it Simpler and Clearer

Simplicity is key for expediting your parent’s learning. Always make sure that you refrain from using unfamiliar terms that they may not understand.

  • For example: “Mom, you can only receive GPRS here, try switching to 3G or 4G for better connection.” These technical terms mean nothing to them!
  • It will be good to explain these terms at the very start so that they are better aware of what is going on.
  • Additionally, refrain from loading too many applications at one go since this can be rather distracting.

4) Share Your Tips

Sharing is caring. I am sure you have heard of that. Share new applications and tips with your parents on how to better use your smart gadgets.

  • You may be embarrassed that you are equally clueless about some of these tips shared among netizens.
  • Do you know that your phone will charge much faster if you turn on “Airplane Mode” while charging?
  • Recently, Apple also released an application called “Tips” on IOS8 beta 4 to expose apple users on more “Phone Hacks”.
  • With greater exposure, you and your parents can learn new ways to use your smart devices.

5) Praise Them with Great Praise

After every session, it is always good to give a pat on your parent’s shoulder and encourage them to do better the next time. These motivates them to further explore their gadgets and gives them a much-needed confidence boost

  • Words are free; Don’t be stingy with your praises! Give praise when it is due.
  • That being said, your praises should not be superfluous too. It might cause them to misunderstand your kind intentions for being sarcastic.

As a Chinese saying goes, 活到老,学到老. Translated, it means “For as long as one lives, one learns”. One is never too old nor knowledgeable to learn something new. Technology might have left some of the elderly straggling, our responsibility is then to keep them apace with changes.

So take the first step today by sharing SIRI with your parents today!