Parent-proofing your computer

July 27, 2018

Many people take for granted having grown up in the age of ever-improving computers and the dominance of the internet.

The widespread use of technology has meant that those a bit less tech-savvy increasingly need help understanding how to use their devices. This often means that at least one person in a family is tech support for a parent or grandparent that has limited knowledge when it comes to using a computer or laptop.

To save you time and frustration, here are three hints to help you be proactive and avoid potential problems the less-tech savvy person in your life might encounter:

1. Install the necessities

Your first step should be installing programs that will make using a computer as simple as possible.

The less-tech savvy will often be duped into clicking on unwanted links and starting suspicious programs, which will lead to preventable issues. Installing some trusted anti-virus software is a good start, and ad blockers are worthwhile too as they cut down on the number of flashy advertisements seen.

2. Use an actual notepad

Keep a physical notepad full of important information such as passwords and account numbers and place it in a locked drawer near the computer. Include other useful information, for example, how to download or move files.

While it may seem easier to keep a text document on your computer with this information, a physical notepad is much less likely to get lost, and cannot be accidentally edited or deleted.

3. Stay vigilant

Don’t overlook the obvious, there is plenty that can go wrong when a parent or grandparent spends many hours on a computer they’re not completely familiar with.

Write down each problem as it happens,and then plan to avoid it in the future. For example, a common problem is a user clicking on something that installs programs in the background without the user’s knowledge.

Expect some frustration, but with some patience and effort, your whole family will eventually learn to use the computer or laptop as easily as any other tool in the home.