If you’re like me, you’re the first person family members call when they’re experiencing a technological problem. By “technological problem” I mean, “Something just popped-up and covered what I was doing… I think the computer is broken.”
If you’re busy with work, and would prefer not to repeatedly call your Mom to talk her through a Teamviewer setup (I highly recommend this as option #2), I would suggest buying a Chromebook.
Chromebooks are a wonderful choice for parents or grandparents who struggle with computers for a few reasons:
1. They’re (relatively) cheap. A laptop that costs under $300? Think of it like an app developer… you only have to give up 100 cups of coffee.
2. Security/Updates. No need to close the annoying anti-virus expiration reminder anymore. Due to cloud storage, a lesser-known OS, and automatic updates that constantly improve your computer, there is a very slim chance at a security breach.
3. Cloud Storage. If you’ve ever dropped your computer, you know the pain of wondering when your last backup was. With a Chromebook, your images, documents, etc. are all stored in the magical cloud, meaning they are automatically backed up, and instantly accessible from any other computer (including Macs and PCs).
There are a few negatives that I should point out, but really aren’t problematic for most:
1. Wifi needed. This actually isn’t totally true anymore. Chromebooks are useable without the internet, but are limited.
2. Specific software. If your older relatives love designing things using CADD software or playing World of Warcraft, they won’t do too well with a Chromebook. Don’t expect to install much outside software. Chromebooks are designed to take advantage of the internet, not your local hard drive.
3. Initial setup. You’ll need to help set up a Google account and connect them to their wireless router. Relatively painless stuff.