I was able to teach my dad how to use an iPhone 5 after a week’s worth of lessons. If you knew my dad, you would realize that this was a HUGE step for him. He was born in 1946 and hates the idea of “upgraded technology” such wireless printers, wireless laptops and believes that smart phones are taking over everyone’s lives and butting into family time. He does look at his computer when he wants to check the lake conditions, the weather report or look up something online, but that is as far as he goes online. As a blogger, I see the positive side of technological advances and was dead set on opening his eyes to the positive side of our digital world. If you’d like to find out more about my choice to get my dad a smartphone, you can read my earlier post “Smartphones Make Great Gifts.”
Me, Dad and My Sister Jessie
All it took was for my dad to open up to the idea and allow me to purchase the iPhone 5 for him when he came to stay with me for a week. I began suggesting that he get an iPhone after my summer vacation and by September he had already spoken to his current cell phone provider about discontinuing his cell phone service and carrying his current phone number over a new phone. It would be much cheaper for him to be added onto my family cell phone package than it would for him to pay for his own package with his current carrier.
My dad planned a trip to visit in October and as soon as I picked him up from the airport, we headed over to Verizon to pick up his new phone, charger and cell phone case. As soon as we got back in the car, I began to ask him to do simple things like find the camera and locate me on his contact list. It didn’t take long until he put the phone down and said that he was done. This happened several times, but I just kept asking him to do things and sending him texts and photos until he felt more comfortable with my requests.
In order to teach someone from the older generation to use a smartphone, you must be ready for them to shut down on you several times. That’s ok, give them a break, but then keep on pushing them at a slow pace. Once my dad was comfortable with locating and using the camera function on his phone, I would text him and ask him to take a picture of something and send it to me. It is very important to tell them why they need to be able to do each thing that you teach them. For example, my dad loved my Fiber One 90 Calorie Lemon Bars, so I told him to take a picture and keep it in his phone so he could find them at the grocery when he got back home. He could also send this picture to my step mom so she could pick them up at the grocery for him when she went to the store. Taking a picture of a store receipt also comes in handy, especially over the holidays when you will be buying multiple items that may need to be returned.
After my dad was comfortable with sending pictures, text and movies, I introduced him to the app store. Before long, he had installed several apps on his phone such as Yahoo Weather, Gold prices, The Today Show, YouTube and one that showed him the fishing/lake conditions in his area. After he saw how many apps could be installed on his phone, he was in heaven. It was great to see him wake up and sit at the kitchen table and check his phone every morning for the things that interested him. When he first got off the plane he told me how he counted 19 people waiting for the plane and 15 of them were on their phones. I told him that he would soon be one of those who were on their phones during long wait times, but he said never! After a few days of phone lessons, he admitted to me that he now sees how people can be “addicted” to their phones once they learn to use them for things that interest them whether that means playing games, checking gold prices or getting the 10 day weather forecast.
There are SO many things to teach someone about using a smartphone, so start simple and focus on things that interest them in order to catch their attention. I chose an iPhone for my dad because I already had one and because to date, it has been the easiest phone that I have ever operated. If you are getting ready to give Smartphone lessons, it will be best if your “student” gets the same phone as you have in order to make your lessons run smoother.
Do you have someone in your family that could benefit from a few cell phone lessons?