Parental Controls for Parental Units

My mother called me this week.  She’s technology challenged and gets frustrated and frustipated (her term) with her computer because it, well, because she’s technically challenged.  Here she says she’s ready to throw it out the window.

This time her internet explorer icon had gone missing from her laptop computer desktop.  Ok.  I thought, she probably just deleted the icon. Little did I know that it was worse than that.  Much worse.

Me:  “Open up your trashcan folder on the desktop.”

Mom:  “I did.  It’s empty.”

I close my eyes.  Dear lord, she has her trashcan set to automatically empty itself.  Sigh.  “Ok, Click on the start button and go into your programs.  It should be there.”

Mom, after a pause.  “I don’t see it.”

Me thinking to myself:  Please don’t tell me she removed that program.

Mom, after another pause:  “I’m very careful when I go into the control panel to remove programs…”

*Head desk*

Mom:  “Since Cousin S and I are coming down in a couple of days, can you see if you can fix it?”

Me:  “Yes.  I will fix it when you come down.”

After we hung up, the thought occurred to me that I’m going to have to take computer administrator rights away from my mother.  I’m going to have to exert parental control over my parental unit.Parental Control

How in the world am I going to do this without making her mad?  Will she see this as an attack on her independence?

When she got down here I let her bring up the subject of her computer.  Ok, now’s the moment.  Just come out with it.  No time like the present, right?

Me:  “Mom, I want to tell you something about your computer.  I think we need to make it where you don’t have rights to add and remove programs.  We should make it where you’re just able to use it.”

A myriad of emotions cross her face and eyes.  She’s trying to process what I’m saying and make sense of it.  She goes outside to get some more things from the car and when she comes back in she says,

“I’m so HAPPY you’re going to do this for me!  Now someone else will be in charge and I won’t have to worry about messing things up anymore!  Thank you!”

Whew.  I can stop sweating bullets now.

I called my sisters and I told them what I wanted to do.  Both agreed.  We all hear about adult children having to take charge of some aspects of their parents lives, which I knew was in the future, but never in a million years did I think we ‘d have to to this with her computer.  It’s a computer for god’s sake, not a freaking car!

Turns out that program really was still on her computer but for some reason she couldn’t find it.  I still took away her admin rights though because it will prevent her from in the future inadvertently deleting something very important.  It’d also help with her frustration and frustipation.  And give her a peace of mind that she won’t seriously mess anything up.

But most of all because I love her.

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4 Responses to Parental Controls for Parental Units

  1. Susan Jaymes says:

    My mom got an IPad and a data phone last year. I feel your pain. Every time we talked or I went over there I had to explain things and show her how to operate them. She’s much better at it now but our contracts for our phones comes to an end next month. Now she wants an IPhone. I’m not so sure I have the patience to teach her another gadget but I applaud her for trying and eventually mastering it.


    • Thanks Susan. I’m glad to hear that your mom continues to learn how to work her gadgets. Since she’s already been using an iPad I would think making the move to an iPhone would not be a very big one. You’re a great daughter to be patient with her and I applaud you for that. Thanks for stopping by.


  2. Diana Beebe says:

    My husband uses Team Viewer on my parents’ computers so he can take a look at them remotely. It has let us help them several times. Good for you for helping your mom like that. I’m glad she saw it as a positive step, too. 🙂



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