While not all parents are created equal when it comes to tech prowess, we know quite a few of them who would really appreciate their beloved children taking care of some of the tech heavy lifting. Some of these are tasks that no one really enjoys doing and others are the kind that take someone adept at the device only a few minutes to complete. Want to make your tech inept folks' day? Take a gander at these tech tasks.
The Tech Tasks
- Universal Remote: Possibly one of the most requested tasks we've been asked to do is setting up the universal remote. This is a task that usually does not take too long, but parents and grandparents are very grateful for, especially when their remote clutter vanishes once the task is completed.
- Security Solutions: With the price of DIY home security systems dropping, more parents and grandparents are becoming interested in getting systems for themselves but they often don't have the first idea how to set them up and monitor them. Follow the security system setup with some lessons on how to monitor and you will have some very happy elders.
- WiFi: While they might not get the pronunciation of this "new" technology right, they know that they want it (one family member pronounced it as "wiff-eee"). Setting up a WiFi network is a pretty simple task and is one that is sure to be appreciated. Just make sure to enter in the WiFi password on all of their devices as well as write it on paper in several places in the house. We have found a post-it note on the fridge to work well for holding the WiFi info.
- Power Outage Tech: Parents and grandparents love motion sensing power outage lights but often do not know how to install them. This is an especially nice task to take care of if your family members live in an area prone to power outages. Complement these lights with other power outage tech like a battery backup surge protector for the computer, solar powered flash lights, and a weather radio.
- Photos Shared & Streamed: There seems to be few things that parents & grandparents like more than seeing pictures of their family. Make getting access to these memories easier by setting them up with a photo sharing service that other family members can contribute to. This can be as simple as reading the instructions for that new digital picture frame they were given last year and setting it up to receive images.
- Software Updates & Computer Maintenance: You know those maintenance tasks you don't like doing on your own computer? Well chances are not only do your older family members not do them, they probably don't even know they should. Take a look at some of the posts from our archives for tips on how to keep their computers feeling sharp.
- Social Media: With more family members looking to get into the social media action but not really understanding it, more important than simply setting up the account is the time that is spent by you explaining to your parent or grandparent how Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc work. Think of it more as an orientation, sit with them as you add their friends, family members, and favourite news sites on Twitter and explain why they see those "@" symbols everywhere. Also very important, explain the difference between public and private messages and configure their devices to use the new social media services.
- Apps: While some family members love browsing and buying apps others just want to dictate to you what they are looking for and have you "make it so." After all, chances are you are one of the reasons they own that new tablet and they see you as a discriminating curator of good apps. After downloading the apps, work with your family member to organise them in a way that makes sense, for example putting all news related apps into a category called "the paper."
- Home Automation: In a similar vein as the home security set up and universal remote, parents may be interested in home automation but not sure how to go about setting a system up. Take the time to go over the options with your family about various solutions perhaps even some that they can control with their favourite devices. Depending on the system of choice, you might even be able to install it for them in addition to showing them how to use it. If they decide to go the dealer installation route, go with them during the meetings and be their expert advocate ensuring they are getting what they need.
- Cord Control: No one likes seeing cords and wires especially when they are from that speaker system that Dad bought and Mum hates. Help your parents out by showing them the great cord control techniques that you've learned in your home and making their wire drama disappear.
What are some tech tasks you've done for your parents or grandparents that they have been thankful for?