ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Teach My Parents Basic Computer Skills and How to Use the Internet-They're So Afraid of Technology

Updated on July 3, 2012

I'm an IT teacher and most of my students are older - usually 60+. Being afraid of the computer is very common.

You need to start them slowly. Don't try to teach them how to use the internet until they have learnt some of the basics. Trying to use the internet when you don't have the mouse under control, can't edit your mistakes and don't even know where the letters are on a keyboard is almost impossible.

The most important thing is to keep calm. Trying to teach a member of your family to use a computer is like trying to teach them to drive. I usually say to people "don't go there"!!

If you've decided to take the plunge you must learn to keep calm. I say to my students - "it isn't a competition". Everyone learns at their own pace.

Start by getting them to just use the mouse to move around the screen. Just using the mouse takes practice. If your parents are older and find using a conventional mouse hard, try a roller ball mouse instead. If you are using a laptop, older people find it really hard not to tap on the mousepad, so find themselves clicking when they don't mean to.

Next show them how to open a program - I start people off with Word or Open Office writer. Find some text and get them to start typing. At this stage - mistakes are good. If they don't make mistakes you can't show them how to correct them.

When they have a couple of paragraphs on the screen, start showing them how to use bold, italic and underline. Try one, type a few lines, try another.

Don't try to do too much in each lesson - otherwise they will get confused and you will get frustrated.

Remember - take it one step at a time. If they get frustrated, encourage them to look back at what they have learned, rather than looking forward and being depressed about what they can't do.

Once they have the mouse under control, can use the basic icons (b,i, u, font size & style, text alignment etc) and can save, open and print then they can start using the internet.

Set them up with an email address. Being able to send and receive emails is a huge confidence booster. Don't try to teach them everything about the internet at once.

Remember - keep calm. Don't rush them. They will learn much more slowly than you did. Try to make it fun. If it degenerates into a war - stop. Find them a class.

Many of my students also enjoy the computer books written for older users. You will find a range of books aimed at older users on Amazon.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My Mom is 80+. She has been on WebTv for the last 10 years and they were just purchased by another company. We had to move he to a computer but she absolutely can't master thre mouse. Any suggestions? She is losing connection with her friends. Very sad. Help...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks a lot, your advice will be really helpful. I loose my patience so often when im trying to teach my parents to use the computer. There is just one issue i would tips on. My dad's eye sight is very bad and he finds it very difficult to find out what is on the screen and where. So please help..:)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      check out the Free Lessons for Your Mom and Dad at gina's channel on Youtube; 2minutecomputertutor. My Dad is learning from those.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Good tips. I already knew these things ( I am not bragging )but still just to make sure i don't leave any good tips. I already taught my mom how to shut down the computer. But she still keeps forgetting. (-_-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My dad is the worst lerner ever! I have a asus limited addition gaming computer and for the past 4 weeks i have been just trying to teach him how to use the mouse and he has still failed.... -_-

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I keep trying to teach my Grandmother how to use a laptop- it is so difficult, she is very apprehensive but I think that she really wants to discover what she can do on there (like talk to my intercity relatives on Skype, which is the reason I want to teach her). I think I'll be able to eventually succeed..?

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image

      Kenneth Albert 

      9 years ago

      WOAH! Awesome tips! THANKS!

      I'll take note of it! (by teaching slowly) as sometimes i'm quite impatient x.X

    • Joel Hawkins profile image

      Joel Hawkins 

      9 years ago

      Nice Hub, my parents understand a little bit. I could not get through the importance of spyware and anti-virus programs. They did not want to spend the money. So after a virus destroyed their hard-drive, they bought their new computer, and they said I was right. I'm not sure if they have purchased one yet though.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have to teach my 80+ year old grandmother to use an ipad. This will help though, so thank you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I am teacher my mum how to use a laptop that we got the old computer my mum hstes the mouse bit with the toch pad it esay . so now i am going to show her what the left one do.

    • mads1 profile image


      10 years ago from Viborg, Denmark

      I digg this... hehe. Old ppl :-P

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I teach my mom and I taught her first the basics, dialogue boxes, how to turn on the computer, exit, minimize, and how to reconzige the 4 parts. I find that you should repeat everything because she often forgets.

    • tourmaline2777 profile image


      11 years ago from Chicago

      Good Tips! My dad is slowly working at it. My mom learned how to shut the computer down yesterday. It does take time.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Shalini - your dad doesn't hate the computer. I've seen this many times - it's a defence mechanism. He's a highly intelligent, well respected man and is afraid of having to start from basics. He's afraid he won't be able to learn. That's wrong, of course, but he has to understand that he will learn more slowly than he once did.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      11 years ago from India

      Nice hub - I wish I could get my 80-yr old Dad to use it - he's a Maths Professor - but he hates the comp :(


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)