The Best Present for that Not-So-Techy Family Member

5 Minute Read

Aziz Ansari might not want to be his dad’s personal computer guy, but this Christmas there will be millions of frustrated moms and dads with outdated browsers and untouched iPhones who could use your help. So for Christmas, instead of waiting for those late night panicked calls from Howard and Virginia, let’s be less resentful and try to teach the things we take for granted.

Here’s a few potential ideas we thought you could do to show your appreciation for those less-than-techy people you love.

*Warning – Computer Language Isn’t Universal

Before we begin, remember that the language you use everyday such as tabs, links, url, browser, etc., might not be words used in everyone’s typical day-to-day. Start off slow and remember that one day you might need to learn something you didn’t grow up with from a know-it-all jerk too.

Update Their Browsers

Have you ever sat down at your dad’s computer to quickly look up a site only to find that the browser is super old and outdated? Instead of retreating from the problem and finding a different machine to use, let’s take a few minutes and update that browser for him. If you’re not familiar with updating browsers, go ahead and Google whichever browser you are using. Instructions should be easy to find.

If he’s using IE, maybe let’s get him a new browser altogether. Being able to view most websites in the actual form they were created to be viewed as might just change his life.

Bookmark Fav Websites in Browser

While you’re working on his browser, let’s go ahead and save some of his favourite sites in the main menu or bookmarks folder. If he hasn’t discovered it already, get ready to make his life so much easier just by simply showing him he doesn’t need to type in that same url numerous times a day.

In fact, if he doesn’t know about tabs as well get ready to blow his mind.

How to Use Their iPhone

So you know that iPhone mom got last year? Did you realize that she only uses it to make calls? WHAT? Maybe she didn’t know she could set up her email or browse the web but today is the day that all changes. Now, this might be extreme but this was an actual scenario I encountered a few months back.

It can be a bit embarrassing not knowing something that a lot of people consider so simple. So our suggestions would be to take some time, sit down and help her go through her phone. Does she have questions? Would she like to use any particular apps downloaded to her phone? Does she know how to download apps?

Data Manager App for Cell

If data is a relatively new idea to your mom, we would suggest helping her get a data manager app for her cell phone. This is a default feature on Android but with IOS you might find it good to set up a data manager app so that when mom’s playing online Bingo, she doesn’t get shocked by her next month’s phone data charges. Setting up a hard limit is simple and really handy.

One that we would recommend is called ‘My Data Manager’. This app provides you with notifications for when you’ve reached certain limits you want to know about.


Maybe you don’t live close to home anymore, maybe you even live in a different part of the world. It can sometimes be hard to figure out how to chat face to face with those people you love the most. So why not introduce them to Skype if they haven’t already heard of it. If this is new to them it will be such a treat for them to be able to see your beautiful face on their screen.

Set them up with an account and show them how to use it. Test it out and let them have fun! They might want it on both their computer and cell so you could definitely help them learn how to download this app to their phone. This will also give them practice for when you’re not around to assist them.

Scan for Viruses on Computer

Did you ever notice that Uncle Ben is always complaining about his slow computer? Maybe he could use your help scanning his computer for viruses. A lot of PCs will pick up pesky viruses that will slow down their machine. Some great options out there are Malware Bits, McAfee, AVG, and Panda Antivirus. If you’re not sure which one is best for your uncle, do a little research and ask around.

How to Make Simple Edits to Photos

Your Granny loves the photos you’ve been adding to her computer from your last family reunion. She really wants to make some simple edits though and she doesn’t want to have to keep asking other people to do it. Can’t she do it on her own? Of course, she just needs a little direction in what program to use and how to use it properly.

Suggesting that she purchase Photoshop is probably not the best option for someone making a few quick edits. If Granny has a Mac you could teacher her to use iPhoto to crop and recolor her images. If she uses Windows, you can definitely go through her native photo editor and help her learn the ins and outs of that particular version. If it’s easier for her to use an online option, PicMonkey is a really simple tool that is quite easy to use and explain. Lastly, Google Photos is a great way to save images from her Android phone and edit from there.

Ask them what frustrates them with their computer!

Just ask! It’s really that simple. Maybe you won’t know the answer to their frustrating problem but this is definitely the best way to understand what they’re dealing with.

story written by Jacqui Janzen