Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grandma and the Internet

You know what makes me giggle? Older people and computers. Our parents just can’t get a grasp on technology, which is ironic, since they were all alive (able-minded adults) during the invention of it.

I remember when we got our first computer. The days when the internet was first out. When AOL was the coolest thing ever. You remember the sound of dial up, I know you do. And when you could only be on the internet for a certain number of hours per month. (Those annoying free AOL CD Roms!) Of course, being a teenager at the time, I used up most of our internet time. Luckily, that was long before PS Network and Xbox Live. My brothers would’ve been so mad at me for using all our bandwidth!

My mom used to chat online when my brothers and I went to bed. I know she did. (I don’t even want to think about who she was chatting with, ew!) She never asked me for help with the net back then. So when, in the last seventeen years or so, did my mother become computer illiterate? When did email get over her head? When did she forget how to search?

The moment that I got the inspiration for this blog post was when I told my mother that I would set up her email address for her, and she said, “Okay, I’ll bring my computer over sometime this week after work.” My mother thought that she would have to lug her PC all the way to my house to set up an email account. Duh.

It took about another three minutes to explain to her that I could use my own computer, that everything would be saved over the internet. Bless her heart, I could almost hear the walnuts in her head cracking when I told her that the email company had servers that would remember all her information for her. Why did I think she would understand a technical term like “server”? I’m sure the servers she was imagining looked a little something like a waiter, not a bunch of computer towers linked together with wires and with flashing lights.
It seems like there comes a point in age when older people just seem to have so much information in their brains, they lose things that they deem not important anymore.That is until they have grandchildren (and great grandchildren) spread all across the US and even the world.

All of a sudden, they’re hearing terms like SKYPE, Facebook, YouTube, chat, blog, and email. (Heaven forbid you tell your parents to Google anything!) And here we are teaching our parents and grandparents things that they taught us just a few years ago. Granted, there is a lot more information on the highway than there was back in 1993, but the concepts are basically the same.

Why do I feel like there’s a joke about teaching an old dog new tricks missing from this?

The kicker for the night ? While my mother was wrestling with the concept of email over the phone, my father-in-law was at my laptop watching videos on YouTube. I had two parents trying to figure out the internet at the same time. At least Grandma Cindy already has Facebook (not that she uses it).

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