Oh, moms. A generation of "digital immigrants," our moms have a real love/hate relationship with technology. While most moms we know love their iPads/Kindles/iPhones/weird off-brand tablets, they also seem to have a very hard time figuring them out, and have a tendency to get overwhelmed by tech problems.
That’s where you come in: If you love your mom but you're strapped for cash, here's a list of five technology favors your mom wants from you, that won't cost you a dime. Make her a coupon book, maybe? Moms love coupons.
Accept her Facebook Friend Request
For the first few glorious years, Facebook was a safe, parent-free place to post pictures of your weekend mistakes. These days, if you're not already FB friends with your mom, there's most likely a request in your inbox that you're ignoring. Make her week by accepting her friendship this Mother’s Day; just don’t tell her what “limited profile” means, and everyone wins!
Help Her Master Online Etiquette (And Stop Embarrassing You)
Moms can be pretty embarrassing in their online communication style, and no one likes to feel embarrassed. Whether your mom has a text message signature "from Mom," posts messages to you on her own Facebook wall (see above), or even makes videos of herself and sends them to you because she doesn’t understand what Skype is, you can help her out. Teach your mom how to communicate online with grace this week.
She may be a little embarrassed at first, but the next time she thinks about tagging herself in someone else’s baby picture “so she can find it later,” she’ll remember what you taught her, and just save it to her desktop with the other 700 pictures she has on there.
"Like" her Facebook Status
Moms are the "new kid in town" on the internet; they're a little shy and overeager, but they mean well. If you're already friends with your mom on Facebook, she probably "likes" a lot of your photos and statuses. Take a minute today and "like" some of hers, even if they don't make any sense. The affirmation will make her feel special, and like she's "doing it right," even if she's just posting the same "Join My Cause" post about stopping Polar Bear Hunting/Fracking 12 times in a row, or an all-caps privacy notice/rant about the new Facebook pricing structure that isn't actually happening.
Show Her How to Reset Her Router
When something goes wrong on the internet, moms usually have no idea what to do, and typically choose one of three routes: They call a random company that has nothing to do with the problem (ex: calling Apple tech support because their internet isn't working), they ignore it completely and declare it broken forever, or they call us to help them. As a Mother's Day gift, think about your mom's most frequent tech complaint, and teach her how to troubleshoot it herself.
You may have to show her multiple times, so be patient with her. It can be frustrating to feel like she doesn't speak the same language as you, but remember: she taught you how to say words you're texting to your friends.
Get Her a Spam-Free Email Account
If your mom is like ours, she's still got the email address that her internet provider assigned to her; it's probably some variation of her name with her birth year after it. If she's always complaining about how much spam she gets, help her out by signing her up for Gmail, and transferring her contacts for her. While it seems like a simple process to you, it's most likely a panic-inducing, daunting process for your mom who just wants to find Aunt Bertha's email already.
Bonus: Because you're helping her make her email experience more pleasant, now is the perfect time to tell her to stop sending you emails with subject lines like "Fwd:Fwd:Fwd:Fwd: IMPORTANT: MICROWAVING A BOWL OF WATER CAN CAUSE AN EXPLOSION." Remember: she means well.