Marcia Hansen

The Technology Generation Gap: The Picture Download

technology-gap-motherIn our last post on “The Technology Generation Gap,” we talked about the moment when a parent has trouble fixing a networking issue and the communication challenges we have when texting between the generations, which prompted us to write another post on the Top 20 Text Abbreviations You Should Know.

We defined the “Gap” as the moment a parent or grandparent has trouble figuring out how to use the next generation’s technology. If you’ve ever had a parent ask you how to video chat or set up a wireless network at home, you know what we’re talking about.

We asked people we work with to share their stories of trying to teach a parent or grandparent how to use newer technology.

The following is an excerpt from an actual conversation between one of our staffers, age 48, and his mother, age 76. The staffer had just emailed pictures of his children to his mom. Simple, right?

Staffer: I just sent them to you.

Mom: I can’t wait. I’ll keep an eye on the mail.

Staffer: No, I emailed them.

Mom: Oh. (long silence) Hmmm, your father usually does the computer.

Staffer: It’s easy. I can talk you through it.

Mom: (another long silence) OK.


After a move to the computer:


Staffer: Go to your email. (long silence) Just click on the icon. (longer silence) Mom?

Mom: It’s not on.

Staffer: The email?

Mom: Yes.

Staffer: Just click on the icon.

Mom: (short silence) I don’t think I can.

Staffer: Sure you can, just move the mouse over to the icon.

Mom: Ummm, I can’t.

Staffer: Why?

Mom: The computer’s not on.

Staffer: OK…


Five minutes later:


Staffer: Just click the email icon. It’ll look like an envelope or the provider’s icon. What do you use? Outlook?

Mom: Mac.

Staffer: You use Mac Mail.

Mom: I guess, it a Mac computer.

Staffer: No, Ma what I meant was…never mind. I should just set you up with G-mail.

Mom: Is that better than email?


Three minutes later:


Staffer: All right, click on the attachment; it should open the file.

Mom: I don’t see it.

Staffer: It should say “attachment” or look like a paperclip.

Mom: Why do I need a paperclip?


After the Staffer stops laughing:


Mom: Oh, I see it! (click, click, click) Ohhhh, the guys are getting so big. I wish I could save this and show my friends.

Staffer: You can, just go up to the bar on the top and click on “File” and you get some options. Then scroll down to “Save page as” and click on that. The file should start downloading.

Mom: Maybe I’ll just invite my friends over to see the picture. I’ll just leave the computer on.

Staffer: That works too, I guess.


How savvy are your parents with the latest technology? Have you ever had to explain things more than once? What technologies give them the most problems? Are there any technologies or devices they work better than you? Let us know in the comments below!



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Marcia Hansen

About Marcia Hansen

Marcia works as a digital storytelling marketing strategist for iQ and the Intel digital newsroom. She joined Intel in July 2010 after her pioneering work in social media at Allstate Insurance. She loves words, movies, photos, and world travel. Marcia holds an M.A. from the University of Missouri where she completed a thesis on digital literacies.

3 Responses to The Technology Generation Gap: The Picture Download

  1. Gael says:

    This post brought a smile. Been there done this. Our Mom’s are the best. And no, of course my Mom has no idea how one of her applications ended up in the trash. She didn’t do it!

  2. Sandy Adam says:

    Laughing out loud, it’s like you wrote about my life. My Mom is the best, and she’s finally starting to understand the whole Facebook thing.