Internet tips for old people

This past week my mom emailed me to let me know that she is sick of storing all of my old He-Man and WWF action figures in her basement and that she plans on selling them using this cool new website her co-workers told her about called, "eBay."

Then she asked me how to use eBay.

This isn't an unusual conversation for my mom and I to take part in. I would say that at least once a week I get a phone call or email (we tried texting one time but she somehow managed to break her phone in the process) asking me a question about how to use the Internet in some capacity. This week it was eBay, last week it was Shutterfly and about a month ago she went off about "Facebookers."

Now, don't get me wrong; my mom is a bright woman. She's only in her early fifties, works a full-time job and has never really (the best of my knowledge) huffed gasoline. She just happens to have no idea how to use the Internet. And after talking with a few of my friends and co-workers whose parents are equally Internet-savvy, I've decided that this is a growing concern that needs to be addressed. Immediately.

That's why this week, as a service to both my mom as well as all the other fifty-something-year-olds out there experiencing similar issues, I've put together a few quick FAQ's to help get them started on the path to online freedom. Let's do this.

Question: Is this whole, "online shopping" thing safe?

A great question. With websites like eBay, Amazon and iTunes dominating the marketplace, it's safe to say online shopping is now the norm when it comes to purchasing gifts, music or awesome 90's movie memorabilia. But is it safe? Hardly.

You should probably know that in a recent study conducted by the U.P.A.T.F.A (Uncle Patrick's Awesome Technology Facts Association), nine out of every 10 online web stores are haunted by ghosts. REAL. F'ING. GHOSTS.

These ghosts have been known to steal credit card numbers, order items without the buyer's permission and occasionally assist in creating pottery while listening to Righteous Brothers songs.

If you or a loved has recently made an online purchase and want to protect your finances, feel free to contact me with your name, credit card number, expiration date and social security number. I will personally see to it that all ghosts are dealt with using extreme prejudice.

(Subliminal Author's Note: Do it. Send me your credit card information. Don't ask questions.)

Question: What is YouTube and what should I be using it for?

YouTube is the most comprehensive and accurate website for news and entertainment anywhere on the Internet. Whether you're looking for accurate, insightful movie reviews, commentary on world events or sweet videos of high school kids participating in amateur fight clubs, YouTube is a wealth of knowledge like no other.

I personally spend anywhere from 11-13 hours per day on YouTube (mostly during work hours), expanding my knowledge about the world and ultimately making myself a valuable asset to my place of business. This is especially good advice for anyone who runs a company (like my boss, for example), as blocking YouTube from your employees is actually hindering their ability to grow as professionals and potentially (definitely) killing your business.

Trust me - blocking YouTube = blocking professional success.

Question: I found a listing on eBay for something called, "Excitement Juice." Is this real? Should I buy some?

Absolutely! The great thing about eBay is that every single item put up for auction is completely legitimate, with no possible way for you to get scammed.

In this case, "Excitement Juice" sounds like a tremendous product that will undoubtedly make you feel younger, live longer and maybe - just maybe - give you X-ray vision.

And yes, while I am the one who placed said-Excitement Juice on eBay, I can assure you that its benefits are completely real and that it is not just a bunch of 20 ounce bottles of Mt. Dew with the labels peeled off and "Excitement Juice" scribbled on with a Sharpie, as my far-less awesome sister told my grandma after I convinced her to buy $500 worth explained the benefits of the product to her a few weeks ago.

Look old people mature generation, I know that the Internet may sound like a scary place full of porn and pictures of Randy Quaid. But with my help, we'll conquer this beast together. I love you.

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