Setting up a computer for your grandparent or parent can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to do it over the phone with them. If you can actually get your hands on the computer, though, you have an opportunity to make their Internet experience way better.
Redditor u/TyrKiyote shared on r/LifeProTips that they got their 80-year-old grandpa’s computer ready for him by manipulating the algorithm on YouTube:
When setting up a computer for an older family member, prime their search history.
I set up a Chromebook for my grandparents. I had the thing for a few days, labeled it and tried to make it simple and nice. I think the thing that made the biggest difference though, was doing some youtube searches of things I knew they liked.
Now when grandpa gets the idea that he wants to see what this computer stuff is about he sees suggested videos about Glen Campbell and backyard farmer rather than what youtube feeds by default. It’s already made a huge difference – rather than feeling lost he’ll see something and click on it, and its turned into him watching what he wants by searching rather than what gets fed to him over the TV (at least sometimes).
This could be applied to a number of popular sites that a less savvy computer user might peruse, starting with Google. You’re not only helping them see the sorts of stuff they’re interested in, you might be redirecting them from the messed-up stuff that tends to rise to the top of search feeds without direction; in fact, u/WayneFire commented that they had this exact problem with their grandpa:
Fantastic idea. Wish I did this when I setup stuff for my grandpa. Didn’t expect him to watch YouTube that much. Now he’s been watching bunch of conspiracy theories with those “weird green frog.” He’s an amazing person … but I think he deserves better entertainment.
If you’re not sure what someone might be interested in, you can check out their bookshelves, search movie and music clips from the era of their youth, or just ask them directly what they want to use the Internet for (besides porn). There is a lot of power in a little search—as u/mr_li_jrreplied, “Use the power of big data for good, not evil.”