A tech crash course for the mums

Dear mothers of tweenage girls and boys,

Are you sick and tired of getting eye rolls when you ask your kids to "update the internet on my phone?" How many times was it that your Instagram post needed a filter like your teenager, and you had to pester them to apply it for you? Are you constantly bombarding your children to plug in your set-top box to the TV so that you can catch the latest blockbuster that hasn't arrived in town yet?

If you have done at least one of these activities, then dear mummy, it's time to ease up on the beauty salons, midday TV soaps, and your window shopping, to start using and knowing your gadgets right.



A mother's first friend in the unchartered sea of all things should be the Google search engine. Insert your daily tech worries, and this wizard, in most cases, will help you navigate many troubled waters. From simple problems like adjusting brightness on your phone, to detailed step-by-step on how to update your son's gaming console's firmware (let's not try and attempt this though), Google has answers to all, as long as you search properly. While you are at it, take it as your first challenge to download and install an ad-blocker to make your journey smoother.

Tip: What do you think will give you a better answer- "Dear Google, Please tell me how to type in Bangla on ____ brand phone" or "typing Bangla ____ brand phone?" Here's a hint; it isn't the first one. Smart searching will come to you, just as you 'know' how much turmeric to use in your cooking without resorting to a measuring cup every time.



Worried about what the "cookie" is every time you visit a website? And what, in the name of all things holy, is a JavaScript? And no, Python is not a snake that you will need to get to run a programme (or app). Before you click "accept", why not read about it! You no longer need to go through gigantic text books written in complicated jargon to know about computers. Following up on your Google searching, take it to the next step on getting bite sized info for these small things. Chances are your tech-infused children have little or no idea on these terms, even if they pretend they do!

As far as reading goes, never attempt to do anything without reading the full instruction, or till you reach the end of the page.



First things first, there is a ton of difference between using your email or social networking on a PC/ laptop and using it on your phone/tablet. Manoeuvring among the various gadgets and systems is cumbersome, but in the long run, this will help you to get through most predicaments like rotating your profile photo or forwarding a document you got via email to a different messaging system. Start from learning basic on/off and restart operations, and work your way up to target some easy maintenance tasks like using an anti-virus programme.



You have heard of this seemingly harmless word, and have probably listed it as another one of those new-fangled words that you do not need to pay attention to. But what you are missing out on is a considerable wealth of fun, and often striking satirical chunks of up-to-date information, all presented in a manner that hardly seems serious. Besides your favourite cooking and beauty pages, do subscribe to a few Meme pages as well, both local and international. It takes a bit of time to get used to it, and some of the things will irk you, but the best part is none of these last longer than three days!



If you are a visual learner, there is no greater blessing for you than YouTube. From Julienning potatoes with your everyday knife, to over the top decorating hacks, you have it all literally at your fingertips. This is also the place where you can 'catch up' with everything that's interesting to your tweenage children. From music, movies, comic books to games, YouTube not only does your homework, but your thesis, as well as predictions for what's next. Look out for channels that deliver good valid info with a bite of sarcasm. The trick however still lies in delivering your new-found know-how on the 'cool' things without sounding like a parrot.



Instead of the typical "fix this" command disguised as a request, go for a different route. Your phone isn't the same as it was after an update? – ask what you can do to get it like before. If you take time to observe, you will see that your child (and tech experts alike) also gets lost amidst the screen swiping, and depends on his/her quick reading ability to make up for the few missed steps. What annoys them is when you can't repeat the same steps, even though they showed it you for at least four to five times. To cover this, a good step is to make your young helper tell you what to do, instead of handing them the gadget directly. This works as a reminder to your kids that they are not as 'tech-smart' as they seem. Remember, your children actually like helping you out, they just won't admit it, but they genuinely do.

As a last word of much needed encouragement, don't ever buckle down from learning and getting to know about tech stuff. If you potty trained your children without a manual, then you can surely teach yourself on how to update your phone. Never be afraid to turn your tablet or laptop off then on again! And DON'T EVER underestimate your intuition of checking if the device is actually connected to a power outlet before calling backup for heavy-duty troubleshooting.

Good luck and may the Gods of Tech watch over you!


Photo: Collected


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