How to Explain Tech to Your Mom

Navigating the task of explaining technology to someone who might find it as unfamiliar as a foreign language, like your mom, can indeed be a unique challenge. However, it’s a challenge worth embracing because it opens doors to better communication, shared experiences, and the empowerment of those around us. Here’s a thoughtful approach to breaking down the complexities of tech into more digestible, relatable concepts:


Start with Tech 101

Before you jump into the nitty-gritty of specific technologies, establish a strong foundation that demystifies technology and makes it less intimidating. Start with the basics by explaining what technology is. It’s like telling a story – how humans have used their smarts to create tools and gadgets over the years to make life easier.

Talk about how tech has evolved, from the early days of calculators to today’s smartphones and beyond. It’s like showing her the chapters in a history book.

Describe why we use technology. Relate it to something she already understands, like the need for a car to travel from one place to another more efficiently. Explain that technology serves a similar purpose – it enables us to perform tasks faster, more efficiently, and often in ways that were previously impossible.


Real-Life Tech Tales

Tech can sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo if you dive straight into technical details. Instead, use real-life examples she can relate to.

  • The Magic of Smartphones: Explain how smartphones are like Swiss Army knives. They’re not just phones; they’re mini-computers that let you talk to people, take pictures, and even shop online. It’s like having a whole store and communication hub in your pocket.
  • Online Shopping Convenience: Show her how online shopping is like having a personal shopper who brings everything to your doorstep. It’s like having a mall at your fingertips.
  • Staying Connected on Social Media: Describe social media as a virtual coffee shop where she can gather with friends and family, just like the real-life coffee shops she enjoys. It’s like sitting down for a chat, but it happens online. Through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp, she can stay connected, share stories, and catch up with loved ones, no matter how far apart they may be.


Speak Her Language

Tech speak can be confusing, so avoid it! Use simple language that’s easy to follow. If something sounds fancy, break it down into everyday terms she can understand– straightforward:

Avoid Jargon: Steer clear of technical jargon and complex terminology. Instead, opt for everyday language that she can readily grasp. If you do need to use a technical term, take a moment to break it down into simpler terms. For instance, you could explain “Wi-Fi” as “the wireless internet connection” or “browser” as “the program you use to explore websites.”

Simple Analogies: Draw parallels between tech concepts and everyday experiences. Compare a computer’s memory to a filing cabinet where information is stored, or liken a computer virus to a common cold that can make the computer “sick.” Analogies can make abstract ideas more tangible and relatable.

Step-by-Step Explanations: When introducing a new tech concept or task, provide step-by-step instructions in a clear and sequential manner. Guide her through each action, and be patient if she needs time to process the information. Visual aids, if available, can be especially helpful in these situations.

Show and Tell: A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Use visual aids like diagrams, images, or videos. For example, show her a video that demonstrates how to use a specific app, or draw a simple diagram to explain how a gadget works. Visuals make it easier to grasp complex concepts. Whenever possible, show rather than tell.

Hands-On Learning: The best way to learn tech is by doing. Encourage her to get hands-on experience. Set up simple tasks on her smartphone or computer and guide her through them. It’s like teaching her to ride a bike; you need to get on and pedal to really understand it.

Encourage Questions: Encourage her to ask questions whenever something is unclear. Be open to revisiting topics and providing additional explanations as needed. Creating a safe and welcoming space for questions can help her feel more comfortable with tech discussions.

Patience: Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and tech understanding won’t happen overnight. Avoid any frustration if she doesn’t grasp a concept immediately. Everyone learns at their own pace.


One step at a time, and the job gets done.

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