To ban my parents from using mobile phones

(352 Posts)
AndromedaGal Mon 19-Apr-21 13:27:07

I am fed up instructing my parents (in late 60's) how to use their mobiles. They don't even know how to turn the volume up properly, so all you hear when you call them is "Hello? Hello?...." Followed by an inevitable pause then, "Oh. Er, it doesn't appear to be working Pam. How do I........." and then lots of intermittent sounds as they randomly press buttons, followed by me being inevitably cut off. This has been going on for years. It's just painful.

They ring people inadvertently when they've stashed their phones in their back pockets because they don't know how to lock the keypads.
They send text messages to landlines.
They delete contacts, forget to turn them on when they're out and about (so what's the effing point having one) and lose them ALL.THE.TIME. And accessing the internet on their phones just causes a whole new level of trauma.

Why can't they learn the basic principles of mobile phone usage? They're intelligent and manage very well independently. But it's so exasperating as they don't always take their phones with them, and when they do, they have them turned off.

I think they should just stick to their landline TBH. Anyone else experience similar??

OP’s posts: |
Chickenlickeninthepot Mon 19-Apr-21 13:32:20

Are you my SIL? My PIL are exactly like this, it's very frustrating.

Anycrispsleft Mon 19-Apr-21 13:37:35

I feel your frustration, but at least they're trying! We haven't seen the ILs for getting on 2 and a half years now (they live abroad and only visit now and again, and then there was corona) and that means literally haven't seen them, or them the kids since then. I wouldn't mind doing a bit of tech support to get them onto Skype but they maintain it's impossible although they have a PC and cable broadband. Mind you, if they did once manage it I would probably feel exactly as you do now...

PragmaticWench Mon 19-Apr-21 13:40:44

My DF is mid seventies and works a mobile just fine. My DM however...many a video call answered where we just saw a close up of her ear. Always turned off unless she wanted to make a call.

Seeline Mon 19-Apr-21 13:41:42

My DMum is brilliant with her's and she is in her 80s. It's only when something goes wrong, or updates that she has a problem. She's got apps, uses zoom and WhatsApp quite happily.

rainbowthoughts Mon 19-Apr-21 13:45:36

When did they start using mobiles? If they are just in their late 60s it's reasonable that they would have got them in their 50s at the very least. Is this a sudden decline in ability or have they always had issues?

Malin52 Mon 19-Apr-21 13:46:51

Oh god. Same here. I woke up one morning at 6am (I'm in NZ) to 5 missed calls and three text messages from my mother in the UK saying 'Please call me urgently'.

Fearing the worst I called and it turned out that 'a message had come up' on the phone saying her Apple ID had been used to buy a new phone and what did she need to do because presumably the scammers had fleeced her. After some extensive probing it turned out it hadn't said that at all and she'd just done a software update.

They never remember any passwords to anything and lock themselves out persistently and they can't understand the difference between wifi passwords and phone passwords. My dad couldn't understand why he needed to connect to wifi at my house when he was 'connected to the one at home'. Yes papa you are 12000 miles away from your router!

Plus my mum turns off the router at night in case villains use it

Its exhausting

Glitterblue Mon 19-Apr-21 13:48:33

My mum, mid 70s, is great with hers. Dad, late 70s, not bad, although he never attempts anything other than making and receiving calls. FIL, great with his, MIL curses the day we had her get one and will not even switch the thing on. It lives in a drawer.

Granny, late 90s, gets hers missed up with the TV remote, makes all sorts of random late night calls that she doesn't mean to make because she's trying to change channel 😂

Aquamarine1029 Mon 19-Apr-21 13:50:05

They are only in their late 60's? Mobile phones have been around for a very long time now. This would drive me insane.

UhtredRagnarson Mon 19-Apr-21 13:50:35

Oh that was painful to read!!

Could you get them a simple brick phone each?

ElvisPresleysSideburns Mon 19-Apr-21 13:51:05

Tell me about it!

My DPs share a mobile. My Mum ALWAYS starts a conversation with "I'm on the mobile". confused

They recently upgraded it to a phone with actual apps and wifi on because they 'needed' the Lidl app. Dad almost got arrested when he thought all he had to do was wave the phone in the general direction of the cashier to pay for his shopping and headed towards the exit!

PuppyMonkey Mon 19-Apr-21 13:51:15

My MIL is forever forgetting passwords to everything. She's got about six Facebook profiles because she's always getting locked out of her old account and has to start new ones. When it's her birthday, I get a notification "Sheila and five other people have their birthday today" - the five other people are all her. grin

Pollypudding Mon 19-Apr-21 13:51:41

Don’t give up hope OP- my parents are in their 80s and we have managed to get them using iPads and Zoom (although this took half an hour of going through the instructions in minute detail). My mum had previously refused to use technology but has been motivated by lockdown !

fluffiphlox Mon 19-Apr-21 13:51:57

I’m early 60s and have had a mobile since they had an extractable aerial. I’m still working and generally up to speed on things telephonic. I think sometimes if you’re not working you don’t keep up to date or maybe use the phone enough to become adept. But YWBU to ban them. I’m assuming that was a tongue-in-cheek threat.

TravelDreamLife Mon 19-Apr-21 13:52:36

I'd like to ban mine from anything with a screen. DM is an early adopter who has to have the latest technology but then calls us to set it up, then constantly calls, asking how to use/fix it (but she didn't do anything, you see, it must be broken/my/DF's/the cat's fault). It's very wearing as it can take hours out of my day. Two weeks ago I got woken by a phone call at 6am with her sobbing hysterically because her new PVR (that we'd set up) wasn't working (it was, just wasn't using it properly). She then called me two-three times a day while we were on holiday to ask questions.

Also, immediately whenever we arrive at their place or at an extended family outing she brings her devices for DH to fix. There's always multiple ones with problems. Half the time it takes longer because DF has fiddled with whatever is 'broken', making it worse.

I've had pocket dialing as well. Unfortunately, she was saying not so nice things about me. Yes, I told her what I thought.

So yes, learn to use it or don't use it!!!

UhtredRagnarson Mon 19-Apr-21 13:53:53

Dad almost got arrested when he thought all he had to do was wave the phone in the general direction of the cashier to pay for his shopping and headed towards the exit!


TurtleCavalryIsSeriousShit Mon 19-Apr-21 13:53:54

Oh god, this reminds me of trying to give my dad my email address back in 2001, when it just really started being a thing. He was in South Africa and I was in England. Back then, there was still a delay on the bloody phone too. It was painful.

It was a hotmail account and after repeating everything a million times including explaining the @ sign and the .com part... he incredulously asked me how the email would know that I was in England grin. That did make up for it a little bit and I tease him about it now. grin

Cosmos45 Mon 19-Apr-21 13:54:16

My mother is still completely convinced she doesn't have wifi because her laptop has to be plugged in (the power source) therefore it is not "wireless". I am not joking and she is a retired hospital consultant.

floofycroissant Mon 19-Apr-21 13:55:32

Can you get them a mobile phone designed for the elderly, especially if the priority is getting in contact. A full smart
Phone may just be a bit overwhelming for them.

CheeseCakeSunflowers Mon 19-Apr-21 13:55:53

I'm 60 and I am fine with mobiles and the internet. My DH likes to make out it's all too hard, so do my SIL & BIL who are 10 years older.I think they think it's easier to let someone else sort everything out. It drives me mad as they still want the benefits of things like online shopping but expect someone else, often me, to do it all. I now just say I've shown you how and leave them to it then ignore all the huffing and puffing that follows. I know plenty of other people in their 70's and 80's who can manage fine so I think it is more about attitude than age.

Chocoqueen Mon 19-Apr-21 13:56:30

@Glitterblue that made me laugh out loud. Poor Granny 😆

UhtredRagnarson Mon 19-Apr-21 13:56:51

he incredulously asked me how the email would know that I was in England grin

I’m in tears here!! 😂

MissConductUS Mon 19-Apr-21 13:57:27

It has always been thus.

Medieval helpdesk with English subtitles


My mum is hopeless with mobiles and computers. My MIL handles Zoom calls with ease. Go figure.

floofycroissant Mon 19-Apr-21 13:58:18

Just to add, if they're dead set on smartphones and not already using Apple, then try them on an iPhone. My DM was anti technology until she got set up on her iPad/iPhone. She now studies virtually and has an online business, yet she still gets me on the phone when she had to touch anything Microsoft or Android related.

sillysmiles Mon 19-Apr-21 14:01:59

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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