A Lesson in Frustration: My Mom and Technology

Parents: sometimes they’re great, and sometimes they crush your very soul and any faith you had in humanity. It can be frustrating, especially when technology is involved. For example, my mom is technologically illiterate (to put it mildly). My brother and I tell her to ask us before buying a phone. She agrees every time, but when friend X and Y recommends her a phone, she seemingly can’t help herself. And yet, when she has problems, are her friends there to help her? No. It falls on me to fix whatever problems she has, but does she ever listen to anything I say? No.



Yesterday, my mom walks in and asks for help with her phone. She couldn’t make or receive calls, apps wouldn’t open, and the screen kept flashing. I don’t know what she did with her phone, but the best I could do for her is a factory reset. I spend the next two hours installing her favourite apps on her new phone, like Whatsapp, and restoring the cloud backups.

I give it back to her, but she gets mad at me because all her contacts are gone.

“It’s better than having an unusable phone, and you can still add them into your contacts list through Whatsapp,” I say.

“What did you do to my phone? I should’ve never let you mess around with it. All my contacts are gone! What am I gonna do?!”

“You…you can add them back in.”

“Look! They’re all gone! Why did I let you mess with my phone? I was better off before you “fixed” it. How am I supposed to call anyone now?”

“What? Are you serious?! It was literally unusable. Are you seriously blaming me for fixing your phone? Just add the contacts back in!”

Of course, then I get frustrated with her inability to understand and use anything more advanced than a home phone from the 70s. I tell her that her Whatsapp conversations are backed up in the cloud, which I describe as another computer, so she can add her contacts back that way, but because she doesn’t understand what the cloud is nor how to add contacts, she just keeps blaming me instead of learning how to actually use her phone.



The next day, she wants to call someone but couldn’t because I “messed up her phone,” and now her phone is “broken.” She is so mad that she tells her friend about it and they go out together to buy a new phone–the iPhone 7.

I point out that getting a new phone won’t get her contacts back, but she tells me I don’t understand anything, and that I should go talk to the people at the phone store–they’d explain why her previous phone was “broken.” Right. Whatever. This is one of those times when you just walk away and wash your hands of the situation. Never mind the fact that she barely knows how to use her old phone and a new OS will just make her even more incapable of using her phone; nor the fact that spending anything over $300 on a phone for her to use is a waste because, let’s not forget, she doesn’t even know how to add contacts into her phone!

The frustrating thing has never been about her inability to grasp technology, but the fact that she refuses to listen, blames others, and never accepts any responsibility. An hour later, she comes in and asks me how to install Whatsapp on her new phone. I die a little inside.




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I want to believe.

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