Staying at home, for as long as I have, can have some side effects. Most of these are undesirable. Weight gain, laziness, watching Star Plus shows and ending up following a few, online shopping, tolerance towards Sidhu’s commentary (in my defense there really was nothing else to watch) are a few such. Another problematic area is your parent’s disbelief at the amount of hours you spend in front of the computer. What they do not realize is that college and subsequently staying on one’s own really drives one to become very dependent on the internet and computers.
One fine or rather not so fine day, my mum decided that she had had enough. She was angry at me for constantly being hooked to my computer and asked me what was so important that I could not do something else. Impulsively and rather foolishly, I replied that she would not understand because she does not use the computer herself. Now let me state this very clearly. Never ever make the mistake I made. Its absolutely cool and in your good interest to not bring up the ‘parents don’t use internet’ argument. Because if you do, you have fallen into their trap of forcing you to actually teach them how to use the internet.
I thought to myself, it couldn’t be that bad. I had heard a few horror stories from friends and cousins about the tribulations they had to face when faced with a similar challenge, but teaching mum to use the internet would not only get her off my case but also be a good way for me to spend some time. So, began our journey towards quelling internet illiteracy. Over the course of the next few days, I stumbled upon, rather uncomfortably and surprisingly, quite a few realizations myself.
1. For many people, the Internet Explorer is the internet. Even people who don’t use computers, have heard of it and know about it. So, if you tell them to use any other browser, they will get confused and there will be resistance. Be brave and don’t succumb to the pressure :).
2. I eventually made my mum shift to Chrome. Unfortunately due to slow connectivity, the site wasn’t loading quick enough. Bam! My mum says, IE is faster then Chrome. I laughed non stop for about 5 minutes on hearing that line :).
3. Most of us take typing with two hands for granted. For beginners, it isn’t that easy. I would ask my mum to not forget typing with her other hand to increase her speed every now and then, but she prefers typing with one finger. Yes, you heard it right. One finger :).
4. The enthusiasm on mum’s face when she was filling up her facebook profile and searching for old friends was a delight to watch :). It made me realize that fb can be used for actually ‘connecting’ than for merely playing angry birds :P.
5. For the first few days be prepared for your inbox to be filled with emails from your parent(s). Mum was trying out all the features, attaching files, images, sending links etc. It was funny how we were staying at the same address but communicating through emails :).
6. Patience is the key. For our elders internet is not the first priority, so they will forget things you have told them the previous day including important stuff like their passwords 🙂 which they have written down in some notebook too :P. In fact the whole process of making them pick a password is an exercise that is guaranteed to generate some laughs!
7. Aah, the video chatting :). Mum spoke to a few relatives who live stateside and she was super impressed with Skype. So impressed that she actually googled for it and read more about it :). That’s a winner you know :P.
In the end the whole experience was actually fun. I got to pull my mum’s leg a bit. It was sweet revenge for all the lectures I have had to endure courtesy my adventures in the kitchen! More than anything I am glad that she persisted with wanting to learn something and is now aware of the powers of google :). She is currently obsessed with reading recipes online (something I don’t really mind since I get to taste new stuff every other day).
What made me write this post is that just a few days back, me and mum had an argument because she was spending too much time on the internet :D.