General Etiquette > Family and Children

Parents who are Computer Illiterate

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Could you find a local teen she could pay to come over and "fix" her problems? SOmebody who would be willing to give her the time and attention she seems to be craving.


--- Quote from: Bluenomi on March 07, 2013, 09:40:18 PM ---Stop helping. She clearly isn't interested in getting help, she probably expects you to go and visit her to do it and when you don't offer to race over she acts all PA about it.

Tell her she's got written instructions, if she follows those she'll be fine and change the topic or cheererly say goodbye and hang up. She's not going to stop on her own, you need to be firm.

--- End quote ---

To race over to her would require two flights and a train. 14 hours is the shortest time this can be accomplished in, if all the transfers match up perfectly, so it's not this at all. And she is not a social person; she's not wanting attention. She seems to genuinely hate having to call, but then when she does, she becomes a dithering idiot, making it worse for everyone involved. She dislikes having visitors--be they us or some local computer-savvy teen. We're actually concerned about when she gets older, since a maid or cleaner would help out a lot but she would detest having someone else in her home.

There are things which I didn't write down because I just didn't think of them (e.g. if the computer automatically updates itself and subsequently clears its internet history, screwing things up for her), and every so often the issue is actually one that she actually does need help with.

OK, I might go with what oceanus suggested: "you know what, MIL? You're obviously quite tired right now, so I'll call back tomorrow and hopefully you'll be up to it. Good night!"

I really want her to get the point that if she's going to be ridiculous, we'll just shut down at our end and she'll have to wait a before trying again. But, as I said, she isn't social, and I don't want to be rude about it and damage an already faint relationship.


--- Quote from: Sharnita on March 07, 2013, 09:48:27 PM ---Could you find a local teen she could pay to come over and "fix" her problems? SOmebody who would be willing to give her the time and attention she seems to be craving.

--- End quote ---

This is a VERY good idea. 

To start with, don't take "hmmm" for an answer.  Don't continue until she acknowledges with a "yes" that she's done what you told her to do. 


--- Quote from: Pen^2 on March 07, 2013, 09:26:54 PM ---These phone calls are taking an hour, literally, when they should be five minutes, even to a computer illiterate person. Things like "look at the top of the screen" can take ten minutes to get her to do. Even "go into the computer room" is hard to accomplish. It's bizarre and bloody annoying, and I am sick of our lives being disrupted over this. Could I say something like this to her to cut the call off? Hopefully we can acclimatise her, as it were, to listening and actually following simple instructions instead of wasting an hour.

--- End quote ---

Did it ever occur to you she might not want the help you are forcing on her?  It sounds like you end up badgering her to go to the computer and follow your directions and get back online. Perhaps she is calling and saying the computer doesn't work because she wants to hear "its ok, you don't need to use it" and just chat?

I'm all for computer literacy, but lets face it there is a prejudice against people under a certain age, especially people at a certain education/career level, who aren't comfortable using one. Perhaps she feels pushed into using a computer when what she really wants is permission to not use one. Not that she needs "permission" officially, but just that its this huge society pressure, and perhaps she just really isn't in to it and wants to know she's still a valid and valued whole person even if she doesn't email.


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