Jenna Milligan: All a-twitter over Mom's new iPhone

There's a cliche in life that says you can't teach an old dog new tricks. With today's technological advances, adults everywhere are putting that saying to the test as they embark on the incredibly long struggle to understand their smartphones.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'll admit that some of my elders are more skilled with their smartphones than I'll ever be, but in my experience the vast majority are not. I've witnessed this first hand, as the newest member of the "old dog" group is my very own mother.

Let me start off by saying that my mom has many gifts and talents. Technology is not one of them. She's had a cell phone for a while now, gradually progressing from the seemingly ancient flip phone to the iPhone 5S.

As she was the last member of our family to get a smartphone, the day she got hers was a pretty big event. She left to go pick it up, brimming with excitement, while I anxiously awaited her return. Needless to say, I was not entirely thrilled at the prospect of answering the few billion questions I was sure were going to be shot at me rapid-fire-machine-gun style.

Fortunately, the lady at the store was a miracle-worker, and somehow managed to teach my mother the basics on operating her iPhone, so when she came home, she knew infinitely more than I ever would have expected. She knew how to turn it off and on, and could even converse with Siri. I was very impressed.


My first order of business was to establish some basic security measures. The best feature of the iPhone is that you can unlock your phone with the simple swipe of your finger, so I set that up.

I gave the phone to my mom so that she could enter her fingerprints into the system by gently pressing her finger on the home button. When she did this, the iPhone gave a small vibration to confirm that it had scanned her finger. This proved to be too much for her to handle as she shrieked and dropped the brand new phone to the floor. As I knelt to pick it up, I took a deep breath and prepared myself for the long day ahead.

Since that first day, I'm proud to say that, through the patient help of my brother and I, my mom has progressed to the point where she types on the keyboard with her thumbs, not an index finger, and uses emoticons when she texts.

She only has added five apps to the phone, but really — besides a calendar, Facebook, and the Walmart app, what more does a mom need? Sure, maybe she'll never use Snapchat, but she has now used Facetime at least twice without assistance, and that's enough progress for me.

Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

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