[Techno Gran]

I thought it would be cute, having my 60-year old mum who is a self confessed technophobe, suddenly become ‘with it’ and connected to all the communication tools of the 21st century. But it isn’t. Not always anyway. And it’s all my fault.


Around her 60th birthday last year mum happened to inherit a second-hand laptop from my brother. What ensued were three months of persistent nagging. “Put me on the Interweb,” she’d say. “The Internet, mum,” I’d reply. “Whatever. Just get me connected. I want to Google,” (giggles at her own use of techno speak).

I so wanted to do it. I really did. But in the back of my mind were flashbacks to hours spent guiding mum on how to use Facebook. And I mean hours. Hours of patience to read and reply to one blinking Facebook message. But I was proud of her, as she sat there bashing my keyboard with one determined finger typing out lines at a blitz-like speed of 2 characters an hour.

Eventually I fulfilled my daughterly duty after much delay and signed mum up with Mweb. My other half – bless his cotton socks – took on the responsibility of showing mum the ropes, albeit in brief. She was given her email account details, her Facebook login details and generally left to her own devices.

That Saturday (two days after her technological debut) I got an excited call from momma bear.

“I watched a fashion show!” she screamed. “Where?” I asked. “On Google! I was watching Whose Wedding Is It Anyway and I saw a designer I liked, so I typed his name into Google and watched his whole show.”

I was extremely proud of her resourcefulness, but also thinking at that point that I’d best upgrade her to an uncapped ADSL line. Thought 1gig would be enough for a novice.

But that’s not all. Mum also used Skype that same night to chat to her best friend. S-k-y-p-e. Which at that point I had not even bothered to use, ever.

And her techno transformation has not stopped there. Three weeks ago she became the proud owner of a Blackberry. And it’s really this development that has taken things up a couple notches for Techno Gran. 

Where once mum would get very upset if you didn’t reply to her novel-like sms’s with equally lengthy multi-messages, she has now adopted the 21st century habit of bite-sized communication. She even has her own txt lingo and abbreviations. And I do have a good laugh where her auto-correct makes her type ‘bum’ instead of ‘bbm’. [“Please bum me,” “I’m loving bum!”, “Send me a bum,” “I got a nice bum from her,” etc, etc].

Mum on Facebook for BB is an entirely different animal, too. And a potentially dangerous one at that. I’m still trying to teach her that everybody can see her wall messages or status comments to me. So I find myself deleting some un-kosher ones, like those making reference to things that should remain between us and not all 300 eyes potentially looking at my newsfeed.

I’m also slowly getting used to the fact that a mum new to BB can be like a hyperactive Jack Russell who won’t stop following you around. I update my FB or BB status and within a few minutes I have a reply comment from mum. I get random messages at the craziest of hours. And BB is a great platform for continuous mummy nagging and instruction.

But you know what? I secretly love this. I love the fact that my mum is just a short beep, message or comment away. Just don’t let her know about this blog or she’ll have one of her own in a few days.

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