Grandparents are sweet, always trying to do the right thing, but sometimes “newfangled” technology can be a little beyond, and provides comic relief for the rest of us. Here are some potential grandparent “moments” that can inspire reactions from painful cringing to outright laughter as grandparents try to deal with “the machines of the future.”
Unnecessary public information
And speaking of Facebook, if grandparents start to use it actively, they should be forgiven for thinking that the future is further along than it actually is; don’t be surprised to see them communicating with stores, organizations and even public officials, demanding personalized customer service. Walmart may be more up on technology than it once used to be, but it hasn’t quite gotten to the level where it knows your grandparents personally just yet.
To post or not to post
The idea of Facebook may, at first, seem ideal for keeping a grandparent “in the loop” and socially active. Just be forewarned that when, and if, they start posting on their wall or — gasp — yours, the results may be less than ideal. In fact, don’t be surprised to see spam, clickbait or the worst kind of yellow journalism stories pop up just when you didn’t need to see them.
Dont worry, Grandma loves you
Grandparents have a funny sense of timing. Just because they have an electronic connection to you, you may find that they may be tempted to use it, well — anytime.
Don’t be surprised to see a personalized message to you in the comments of a friend’s post on your Facebook wall that has NOTHING to do with them or you or anything remotely connected to any of you. You may find them wishing you a happy birthday when you’re trying to send a personalized post to your crush — or worse. As long as they have access, any place on your wall is open season for anything from a Season’s Greetings to a request to help them clean out their garage.
It’s not cooking
Careful with how they play with wires, especially ones that go into any kind of socket they’re unfamiliar with. Murphy’s Law applies here.
Have you ever tried getting a grandparent to record a special moment with their webcam or other video recording device? Hilarity usually ensues as they often don’t know they’ve actually started recording and/or can’t figure out how or when to stop. You might want to tell them that pushing the button down harder won’t usually offer a more effective result.
The internet is a whole other ball court for the old folks, but can we really blame them? The internet only came out in the 90’s, after all. You can forget about Grandma knowing her wifi password (if she even has wifi) and helping you connect to the internet. The concepts of “The Web,” “The Internet,” “The Browser” and “Facebook” may all be mutually exclusive or contained in a bizarre series of concentric rings in their mind, so they may think they have “The Web,” but not “The Internet” (or vice-versa), or they were able to open “Facebook,” but not their browser. Well… better luck next time with that, Pops.
All things smart phone
Cellphones. It might be a good idea to just not go there. As with “The Internet” and “The Web,” the concept of a “text message” or an “App” could take five minutes to explain… or five years. Don’t be surprised to see responses to another person’s text come to you, or vice-versa. And if pictures can be part of messages, well… let’s just say you might want to prepare to see some unexpected ones.
Google, the counselor
Their way of using Google is completely different than most people’s. We’re not sure if Google has caught on to this yet, but typical grandparent queries can certainly break the 32-word limit Google has on searches. A query such as “Can you please tell me how long it will take to ship my package using the UPS from Kenosha, Wisconsin to Bangor, Maine if I have them pick it up at my house on Monday afternoon and have it all wrapped and ready to go? Can it go overnight?” is not unheard-of.