New-Fangled Technology

My grandmother takes out her phone. She punches the screen with her pointer finger. I tell her, “let me show you how to turn it on”.

My mother takes out her phone. She sends a text to her friend with far too many emojis.

My grandmother asks me, “how do I send a text message?” I give her detailed instructions. Still, she needs to ask me every time. 

My mother uses her phone for research. Instead of bookmarks, she saves links to webpages on her home screen. I remind her that they can’t be transferred to a new phone, and she could lose them. 

My grandmother learns how to turn on her phone. She follows her directions for sending a text message. She accidentally sends a ten minute video of her feet with the news playing in the background.

My mother uses her phone to call me. She calls me too often. She worries before she needs to. I tell her, “you have to give me time to respond to a text”. She admits she has to agree.

My grandmother wants to take better videos. She takes dozens of photos, thinking they are videos. Then she wonders where her videos went. 

My mother’s phone breaks, and she has to transfer her information and settings. She loses all the “bookmarks” she’s saved on her homepage. 

My grandmother learns to take videos. She takes one on her own. She tries to send it to her friend and instead sends it to her lawyer. He asks why it’s relevant. She forgets how to reply to a text. She takes out her directions, follows them, and tells him “I sent that to the wrong number”.

My mother learned her lesson and is saving her favorites as real bookmarks now. She still has a cluttered home screen with links to various sites and individual files. I suggest she stick to bookmarks, and use a file system. She doesn’t know how to access a file system.

My grandmother has been texting her friends and family. She accidentally sends a text she shouldn’t have. She asks me if she can delete it. I tell her, “it’s like a letter, once it’s sent, it’s sent — you can ask your friend to delete it though”. She exclaims, “so I can’t delete it! I should be able to”. She expects things from technology that she never expected from hardcopy letters.

My mother drops her phone all the time. She wonders why her stylus stops working and her screen is unresponsive. She says, “help, it isn’t working, fix it”.

My grandmother doesn’t turn her phone on when she leaves the house. She doesn’t check to make sure it’s charged. It’s never there when she actually needs to use it. We don’t find out until hours after that her car broke down. 

My mother starts using TikTok. She hates it, but she looks anyway. She watches sad videos and the kind that pull at your heartstrings. She never watches anything funny.

My grandmother wants to use Facebook. But she doesn’t want her information shared. She won’t put her bank account into the online banking system, she opts out; but she’ll use the most exposed social media on the planet.

My mother gets hundreds of notifications per day. She doesn’t know how to change her YouTube notification settings, or her Facebook notification settings. They annoy us both, but she doesn’t want to change them.

My grandmother is proud of herself. She’s learned so much about technology. 

My mother is proud of herself, she knows way more than my grandmother about it.

My grandmother’s phone case is too big, the phone slides around in the folding case.

My mother’s phone case has no impact protection. Her screen is almost completely non responsive.

I tell them both to get phone cases that actually fit.