If you’ve ever been enlisted as tech support via phone for a parent or grandparent trying to work through a problem they’re having with technology, you know how frustrating it can be. You have to figure out how to solve their problem, yes, but you also have to figure out how to talk them through the fix — all without know exactly what’s in front of them. This means you spend a lot of time asking questions like, “Is there a button that says something like ‘input’?”
To prepare yourself for the next time this happens, consider taking a few photos next time you visit — which may just be this holiday season. Snap a pic of the TV remote(s) if they tend to ask for help with those. Take a picture of where the cables connect on the back of the TV. Snap a pic of the oven’s control panel if they never use the convection setting but you could see yourself sharing a recipe that does. Photograph the control panel on their new fancy dishwasher — and bonus points if you can make a note of their preferred settings.
If they tend to need help with their smartphone, do some recon there too: If they’ve got an Android and you only really know iPhones, send yourself screenshots (with their permission, of course) of their home screens and the settings screens in their favourite apps.
And to aid your future self in frantic googling, note the make and model of everything they’re likely to call to ask you about a month from now. This way you can search up manuals and troubleshooting guides if even you don’t know which button to push.
This tip isn’t just for kids looking to help their elders, either: One redditor says, “When my son moved onto his freshman dorm, I took a picture of the dials of the washers/dryers in the laundry room so I could talk him through his first couple of times using them.” Tech support can go both ways across the generational divide.