Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Dec. 30, 2014

Take Time to Teach Your Parents Tech

Program Administrator, Family Online Safety Institute

By this time, you’re probably busy scrambling to make a few New Year’s resolutions, right? Somewhere on the list is eating healthy, exercising regularly, and learning a new skill or hobby.

Well, FOSI’s Good Digital Parenting has another challenge for you: take time during 2015 to sit down and encourage your tween or teen to help you learn something new about technology. (For all the teens that just eye-rolled, I promise you, speaking from experience, it's not as bad as you think!)

Last summer, my mom got her first laptop. It was a brand new MacBook Air. She was very excited to get her computer set up, to open a Gmail account, to transfer music and photos from her old desktop, and more. Not knowing exactly where to start, we set up a screen-share call and I walked her through the basics, including a few computer navigation tricks she may not have discovered on her own (I live by Apple’s Hot Corners and Multi-Touch gestures).  

Hearing her get so excited about learning to use her new computer on her own was a great feeling. It was also rewarding being able to give back to someone who has taught me so much over the years. In addition to her laptop, we've since walked through her iPhone and Facebook. Next, she’ll conquer Instagram. 

But not only is teaching parents tech rewarding because you get to give back, it also opens up new avenues for connection and communication. For parents with younger kids still living at home, it gives parents the opportunity to talk with their kids about how they’re using technology, about privacy settings, who their friends are on social media, some of their favorite sites, and more.

But not only is teaching parents tech rewarding because you get to give back, it also opens up new avenues for connection and communication.  

This kind of kid-to-parent teaching can also be really empowering. For example, having just finished a front-end development course this fall, I loved being able to share some of the sites I built for class with my parents.

So, whether or not you or your child got a new tech device this holiday season, or if you’re looking to start using sites you’re not familiar with, encourage your teen to teach you. In fact, you can even suggest FOSI’s Tech-Time Coupons as a gift for your child to give you for future gifts. 

Let us know how it goes!

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.