Asked

What can help parents become more tech-savvy?

I just bought parents another new Android. This time around, I'm wondering if there are any "elders-focused" products that can help them improve their general tech-savviness?

They're about 50 and speak good enough English to otherwise navigate their phone, but they seem to "lose common sense" when it comes to using gadgets and appear a bit scared to try things.

(Might seem OT for WIP: I'm also using this question as a way to understand the landscape for such products - maybe there's an opportunity to build something!)

It's difficult to learn something if you don't have an immediate need for it.

Can you think of any apps that could substantially improve your parents' lives? For example, if they like to travel but still use travel agencies you could introduce them to Airbnb, Booking.com, etc. If they are into history, set them up with a YouTube account that is subscribed to some interesting history channels, etc.

That’s right @marc. They travel a bit now so I encourage them to book via booking.com / AirBnb etc. We’re visiting Paris soon so I got them to play with Duolingo to pick up some basic French words...

However the problem I’m trying to solve is that they’re somehow “scared” of using their phones (and they’d love to be able to use it). Eg if they know the 4 clicks you need to book an Uber they’ll do it. But in between if the phone pops up a “battery low wanna switch to
low power” thingie then they’re confused maybe their phone will explode if they click ok? Maybe it will switch off if cancel? That kinda thing ...

When my parents were younger they did a course complete with textbooks that had step by step screenshots on how to use Microsoft Word, or step by step stuff on how to use Google search. Those times they only had to occasionally use 2 or 3 software so that approach worked. If there’s a significant update to a software (e.g the introduction of ribbon on MS Office years ago) their knowledge would then be obsolete.

But now there’s a new app everyday and it introduces a new interface - for their style of learning, I think they’re not used to catching up.

So I’m just curious if there’s a way to teach people to be more savvy - maybe even through articles etc 😀

YouTube is a good idea though - think I’ll point them to YT videos about how to use a particular app.

If their fear is messing up their device, then either make a safe environment where they can’t mess things up, or teach them how to fix any mess ups.

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