We recently chipped in to buy an iPad for my mom, because she’s pretty much never touched a computer her entire life, and we figured it’s about time she learned about apps, casual games, email, and the Internet. And the iPad being the iPad, it should be easy enough for her to figure out.
Now, the apps and casual games were easy enough to teach her, and indeed she did get pretty hooked on games like Bejeweled and Diner Dash – but then last night she asked us to teach her how to use the Internet. And then I was stumped.
Now, if you’re reading this then you probably have a healthy grasp of the Internet and how it’s used. But try to imagine seeing the Internet for the first time. Try to imagine not knowing the answers to questions like “What’s Safari?” and “How do I Google?”. Because that’s pretty much what it was like.
We showed her how to Google something, and then when I thought we were getting somewhere, she had no idea what the search results were. And honestly, I can see how confusing that might be for someone who hasn’t used the Internet before. Someone had to explain the concept of web sites, pages, and all that shit to my mom, and that someone was my wife – because in a fit of panic, I conveniently excused myself to use the bathroom.
I think I bit off more than I can chew, and I’d rather explain the birds and the bees to kids. When my sister gets back from Australia, she can take over teaching duties!
Has anyone out there ever had to explain the basic concepts of the Internet to their parents or grandparents? Any advice? Any easy examples or online tutorials that I can point her to? I saw this great page about teaching your mom about Twitter, but I think she’s not quite ready for that yet.
In the meantime, here’s Ben Affleck explaining the Internet to Jay and Silent Bob: