Help, the Internet Disappeared! How to Help Your Parents or Grandparents With Tech

Enlisted as the family tech support? Here are some tips to guide you through.

ByABC News
December 24, 2012, 2:12 PM

Dec. 24, 2012 — -- intro: "How do I get back to the home screen?" "I lost my open window." "The computer deleted my Internet."

Even if you're just a little bit tech savvy, then chances are you've heard questions or moanings like those from your parents, grandparents or the older friends in your life. Oh yes, you're the family tech genius and the next Steve Jobs just because you know how to set up an email address or use Twitter.

If you're home for the holidays, you're bound to get questions about tech -- the new iPad, computer or even worse the broken router or desktop computer. Don't worry we've got you covered. Here are some tips for the generous family IT department this holiday.

quicklist: 1category: title: Golden Rules url: text: Before anything, there are some general rules you've got to keep in mind before you start teaching the less tech-knowledgeable.

The first is patience. Patience can't be learned or taught, but try your hardest to keep your cool when the questions arise or the confusion sets in.

Also, make sure to pay attention. It's easy to get sidetracked at the computer, but focus and you'll get back to checking your Fantasy Football team or Instagram feed sooner.

Lastly, stick to the basics. Don't get carried away with any of the bells and whistles. If you're working on email or learning how to get to websites, stick to the particular challenge. Don't jump around.

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quicklist: 2category: title: Tips for the iPad or a tableturl: text: It's hard to anticipate what you might be put to work on, but chances are this holiday season iPad instruction is going to be in high demand. As far as consumer technology goes, the iPad is simple to use, and many pick it up fast, but there are a few things you want to make sure mom and dad know before they are off on their own.

Before you do anything, connect the iPad to Wi-Fi for them. Here are some other core tips.

1. Open and close apps from the homescreen. Make sure they know how to open an app and get back to the homescreen by pressing the physical home button. Also make sure to show them that there can be a few screens. Yes, some can get confused about not being able to find that other screen.

2. Place the main apps on the dock. Clear out the preloaded apps on the dock and replace them with the two or three main apps they use. Also make sure they are familiar with those main apps, which are likely email, Safari, Notes and Photos. In Safari make sure they know how to get to the address bar and that they are comfortable using the keyboard.

3. Download apps. Show them the app store and set them up with a few of your favorite apps. Also set up their Apple account, input the credit card and have them write down the password in a safe place. Do not save the password on the iPad itself.

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quicklist: 3category: title: Tips for the Computer url: text: The computer is a bit more challenging, but stick to these tips and they should be off on their own in no time.

1. Clear out the desktop. Most PCs come with lots of preloaded programs on the desktop or on the Start Screen in Windows 8. Clear out the clutter and place only the most-used programs on it.

2. Set up the browser with key bookmarks. Chances are a web browser is going to be one of those key apps. Make sure they know how to get to the browser and set their favorite sites as bookmarks. Google's Chrome browser is great for showcasing those favorites, since it displays big icons on the start page.

3. Make sure they are familiar with other programs. Email is another big one. Go through the email basics: sending, writing and reading new messages. Do the same with other key programs.

4. Open, close, minimize windows. This is one of the biggest issues. Ensure that they know how to close programs but also where to locate minimized windows.

5. Set up a remote assistance program. Computers are a big one and you're not likely to cover everything in just a few hours. That's why it's also a good idea to install a remote assistance program like LogMeIn on their computers so you can log into their computer when you're at home to lend a hand from afar. While you are at it, install Skype or another video chat program.

Note: If you're setting someone up with a new Windows 8 comptuer, you'll want to take a look at our 8 things you need to know about using Windows 8 story here.

Remember: Stick to the basics, be patient and, above all, have fun!

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