How to help your parents learn how to use technology

Screenshot of the interface on Google's new Teach Parents Tech site.

For older generations, the first computers that came out served specialized purposes and niche needs.  It was no wonder they didn’t bother to learn about them until they became more powerful and more useful. Now computer are almost a necessity.

For this reason, more often than not, older people (such as your parents) will probably just call someone (like you) to fix it instead of learning the process themselves.  Everyone also has that one or two friends that have no idea how to use technology.  Either way, this post is to help you help them catch their own fish.

Google has taken up the reins and tightened their belts to help those harassed in this area with a new site called Teach Parents Tech.

This is a very simple to use site, with a very intuitive layout.  It’s small in its purpose in that it allows you to send out videos to whoever you feel would benefit from these how-to guides.  The range of topics are split into five different categories, the basics(of using a computer), world wide web, communication, media and finding information.

Even better, they have videos for PCs and Macs, particularly for the videos dealing with computer maintenance and customization.  Some of their other features are very neat and these how to’s seem to cover the top questions you could imagine those unfamiliar with technology would ask.  Video chat, sharing photos, picture resizing, checking the weather are some of the many videos offered.

But with all free help, there is always criticism.  Many critics have stated their distaste in that a lot of the how-to’s are answered with a solution related to or affiliated with Google.  For example, the calendar how-to video shows how to use Google Calendar, and the Weather how-to informs you to just type in weather at the main Google page.  This site also benefits Google because it helps get the word out about the many services Google offers (which many people may not be aware of) that can help simplify many tasks.

Despite this minor backlash, the videos are still well-made, and easy to follow.

If you know of some other internet resources that can help teach people to learn technology, feel free to share in the comments below!

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