Sometimes Parents And Computers Just Don't Mix

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

Parent Computer ConfusionIs this a phone call you dread getting from your parent?  Especially if you have an elderly parent, you’ve probably received at least one of these phone calls in your lifetime.  You know the one – it goes something like this:

Mom:  Carie?

Carie:  Hi Mom!  What’s going on?

Mom:  Something terrible has happened!

Carie:  Oh, No!  Who died?!?

Mom:  No one.  I just hit something on my computer and now I can't do anything!  Everything was working fine a minute ago!  Help, I don't know what to do!  Can you fix it for me?

Typically, when I get these types of calls from my mother, the first thing I do is make sure she hasn't flipped any switches or unplugged anything.  Once we've covered that portion of crisis intervention, I can usually walk her through the necessary steps to get her up and running again.  Other times – not so much.  When the situation at hand is more complicated and not easily resolved, I now have a method for fixing long distance computer issues quickly and efficiently.

Get free remote access to any computer – anywhere.  Recently, I discovered a website called, and after my mom and I followed a few simple instructions … viola!  I could see and manipulate everything on her computer from my own personal computer.  No longer do we have to spend tedious and agonizing hours going through "okay click on this" and "what do you see now" scenarios.  More importantly, the good news is:  Once you calmly eliminate all the frustrations and miscommunications associated with trying to help someone over the telephone – chances are you'll still be speaking to one another afterwards.

I suppose my 10-year-old nephew is always a last resort option.   After all, he is often times my go-to-person for anything high-tech or computer related.  I've actually thought about asking my young nephew to go over and help my mom in her techie times of need.  The only problem is – he doesn't know how to drive yet.

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carie shapiro

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Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

That's the first thing I enabled on my Mom's mac. Screen Share. It's a lifesaver.

Aug 16, 2012 02:32 AM #1
Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

Soem good tips for checking the easy stuff first.  Screen Share is good as Tim mentioned.

Aug 16, 2012 02:34 AM #2
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

I remember once trying to walk my mom through a computer function over the phone.  I asked "Mom... is the window open?"

"Of course, honey" she answer "the window is open.... you know I'm always hot!".

Aug 16, 2012 02:51 AM #3
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Carie...... I knew it all along.  We are related... Same mom :)

Aug 16, 2012 03:08 AM #4
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Carie, You made me smile. I never had a call like that but sometimes I feel like I am the one needing to make the distress call because my computer has done something crazy.

Aug 16, 2012 03:14 AM #5
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Tim:  Wish I had known about this sooner!

Edward & Celia:  Yes, always start with the easy stuff first!

Alan:  Ha!  Sounds like your mom and my mom would get along very well :)

John:  Right?  And, by the way ... I couldn't imagine being related to anyone nicer than you, John :)

Debbie:  Glad I made you smile :)  Trust me ... I've made plenty of techie-related distress calls in my day!

Aug 16, 2012 04:16 AM #6
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

Carie - As others have mentioned there are several remote access software that work great and they are a God send when dealing with parents and non-tech friends.

Aug 16, 2012 05:01 AM #7
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

I think we all have experienced that.  For me was the it was the 911 call from my GrandDad when he couldn't get his DVD player to work.

Aug 16, 2012 11:06 AM #8
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

Carie... Great to have the abilityto make it work.. I do like to use JoinMe as an option too.. it has worked for many occassions!

Aug 16, 2012 01:41 PM #9
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Nancy:  Thanks!  Didn't know there were so many ... I'll have to check out some of the other ones too!

Kathy:  Ha!  I know how he feels ... all this new technology takes some getting used to :)

Janis:  Yes, it is great to have this option now.  I'll check out JoinMe too!

Aug 17, 2012 12:55 AM #10
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

Suggested.  We used to get these calls from Ron's mom.  But, since I had no idea what her screen looked like, I couldn't help her at all.  Thanks for a tip that worth the whole day of commenting!

Aug 18, 2012 08:18 AM #11
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