Are you the family IT support? Tips to keep you organized and sane

In today’s fast-paced, digitally-connected world, it can be difficult to keep up with all the latest technologies, gadgets and upgrades. For younger generations who grew up with these technologies and now use them regularly in the workplace, these updates and changes are easy to understand and implement. That’s not always the case for some older generations, though, so many adult children find themselves playing the role of IT tech support for their parents and other family members.

According to a recent PEW study, more than three quarters of 60-69 year olds use the Internet. While these “Old Boomers” may be enthusiastic adopters of new technology, they often lack the basic foundational education required to properly and safely use that technology.

In order to minimize the time spent on tech issues with your parents and loved ones, here are a few tips to keep their information secure and your sanity in check.

Ditch the technical terms.

For many of us who grew up using technology, technical jargon has become part of our daily vocabulary. Yet this terminology can be confusing and intimidating for many of our older family members. Whenever possible, keep your explanation as simple as possible. Using analogies to explain certain situations has been found to be much more effective, and will aid tremendously in the learning process.

Set them up with a password manager.

While it’s great to have parents and family members actively embracing new technologies, ensuring their personal data and information is secure is extremely important. Educate them on the dangers of password reuse and insecure password storage. Keep them safe and organized by setting them up with a password manager like LastPass that can generate unique, strong passwords stored in one central, secure vault.

Screen sharing is caring.

We’ve all received some version of the frantic “I clicked something and now my screen is upside down” or “I tried to attach an email and now my screen is black” text message or phone call. In these scenarios, using FaceTime or a collaboration tool such as that allows you to share screens is the most efficient option if you’re trying to help fix the problem from another location.

When all else fails, call in backup.

Let’s face it – there are going to be some technical issues that you won’t be able to fix. Even the most tech savvy among us need to call on the professionals every once in a while. If you’re unable to find a solution or you just need a break from being the 24/7 tech support, setting your parents up with a professional service like The Geek Squad or HelloTech can save a lot of time and frustration.

Tell us in the comments below: What are your tips for providing tech support for family and friends?

One Comment

  • Dirk House says:

    We belong to an Apple-users group in our community that offers tech help over the phone. This can be an excellent resource and can help answer questions and even provide on-site support if needed. Their seminars and presentations are also a great learning tool. Maybe you would want to see if something like this is available for you? And, thank you LastPass for your very own tech support that has helped me many times!