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Alta Sierra, CA — Meredith Wilson has always had a great relationship with her son, James. Growing up, they had a typical and happy middle-class life, mostly free of strife and dysfunction. Recently, Ms. Wilson has upped the relationship quotient by increasing her son’s phone calls each week for computer help.

“I just don’t know what I would do without Jim’s help on the computer,” said a grateful Mrs. Wilson from her phone in Lincoln, CA. “He is always there to help me with my questions. So I call him whenever I can’t figure something out.”

All over the country, elderly parents are calling their children for computer/smart device assistance. Ironically, technology experts say that our devices have become much easier to use. Added to that, there are many online resources to help with issues like Google, numerous help websites, and technology blogs.

“Mom calls me probably twice a week with the same questions,” said a somewhat annoyed Mr. Wilson from his Alta Sierra home. “And she probably sends me 15 emails a week. Half of them are more questions; the other half are forwarded joke emails and health MLMs.”

Mr. Wilson supplied some typical questions (and actual questions) from his mother:

  1. Which program should I use, iTunes or Windows Media player?
  2. I can’t find a folder I just created
  3. I can’t find that file I just downloaded
  4. How can I print all grandkid’s pictures on Facebook?
  5. I can’t print. I think my printer is broken. Will you print this if I send it to you?
  6. My Internet isn’t working (sent via email)
  7. Firefox keeps dimming when watching Youtube.
  8. I lost my email password, and I can’t send an email (sent via email)
  9. AT&T said I have a virus, and if I hire them, they can fix my computer. Should I do that?

“Jim is so helpful, and I just love talking to him,” said a proud Mrs. Wilson. “He went to Chico State and studied Geology. He works for Chevron now, but I have no idea what he does. Water management or something.”

Mr. Wilson is graceful about the situation.

“She could easily use Google or something, I suppose. But, I think she wants to talk to me. And that’s perfectly OK.”