This post was written as part of a compensated partnership with Microsoft
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and if you’re scratching your head about what to give your beloved Mom or feeling a bit short on cash for something that would show her how much you truly love her, what about the gift of tech support?
One of the best gifts that my husband and I routinely give our parents are little lessons that help them become more confident and efficient users of their various devices. Over the years we’ve taught them keyboard shortcuts (no more drop down menus for copying and pasting!), organized their photo libraries, set up external and cloud backup systems, suggested apps, reduced cell phone bills by getting them on shared family plans, and more!
If you’re wondering how to know what to teach, start by watching them. Are there things that they do that drive you crazy when you watch them where little tips could make them more efficient? Start with what you recognize Mom doesn’t know and then build upon her knowledge.
If mom loves taking photos, introduce her to Instagram
If she’s already an Instagram user, install some easy to use photo editing apps to up her photo sharing game and show her how to use them. Aviary and Vibrantly are great, easy places to start as you work up to Snapseed, VSCO, and hashtags. Take it a step further by making sure she’s backing up her photos and giving her tips on capturing fabulous selfies!
- Want to buy her a gift? Order a photo collage or photo book of Instagram images from Social Print Studio.
Feed mom’s wanderlust by showing her tools to make planning and traveling easier
Feed mom’s wanderlust by showing her how to use the free Findery app to discover new places near and far to create a bucket travel list. When travel planning gets underway, show her how she can include a copy of her passport, flight numbers, detailed itinerary, and more in OneNote that can be easily be shared with you and any other traveling companions or friends and family at home in case of an emergency. Take it a step further by showing her how OneNote can be accessed on or offline across multiple devices so she can add to her notes as she goes to create a travel diary even when she doesn’t have a cellular connection.
- Want to buy her a gift? Get her a great case for her tablet that will protect it during travel.
Explain the cloud
Yes, clouds are these beautiful things in the sky but the idea of working in the cloud or from the cloud can be just as nebulous to non-tech savvy parents. Showing mom how she’s already working in the cloud when she accesses files through OneDrive or DropBox provides very concrete examples to a fuzzy concept. Take it a step further to show her how she can share her documents and photos with you from her account in the cloud.
- Want to buy her a gift? Purchase additional OneDrive storage.
Set up a backup system
Nothing is worse than a call from you parents trying to troubleshoot missing documents and photos from afar. Start with an automatic backup system where you can set-it-and-forget-it until disaster strikes. Take it a step farther by setting up redundant backup systems where backups will run to an external hard drive and also to the cloud. Aren’t you glad that Mom now knows what the cloud is?
- Want to buy her a gift? Get her an annual subscription to Carbonite or any other online cloud-based backup system.
Convince the kids to Skype every once and awhile
Phone calls are so last century and while texting to stay in touch may be the favorite way of communication for the tweens and teens in your house, all grandmothers love to see their grandkids’ darling faces, regardless of how old they are. Install Skype on her phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop and do a practice video chat to show her how to use it. Take it a step further by teaching her how to do a group video call with all of the grandkids at once.
- Want to buy her a gift? Purchase Skype credits so she can say hi while she’s on that bucket list trip.
Need more ideas for lessons to make Mom more tech savvy?
This post was written as part of a compensated role with Microsoft as an Office Ambassador. I am also a Windows Champion and receive product for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Images courtesy of Microsoft and video chat photo courtesy of dharrels via Flickr.