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People who don’t know how to use technology are not stupid, said local technology instructor Kim Tomazewski, who started the Net Cracker business 2½ years ago and has worked with roughly 500 senior adults.

“The phrase – I’ve heard it 100 times – is, ‘I feel so stupid. Do you work with young people? Do you work with people as dumb as me?’ It makes me so sad,” Tomaszewski said.

It’s often other well-meaning adults or grown children who inadvertently feed a beginner’s insecurities and lead them to believe they can’t learn something that they truly can.

For those playing teacher with their own technologically challenged loved one, Tomazewski offers this advice:

Be patient and go slow. Don’t whiz through the process or rebuke a learner by saying things like, “I’ve shown you that three times. Pay attention. Write it down. You have to practice!!”

Teach them the language. Newbies don’t know what booting, scrolling, right-clicking, icons or links are. Explain.

Customize the device. Make setting changes to slow the mouse down, make the arrow bigger, adjust the sound, make the phone display larger. Make the device as automated as possible.

Show them, then let them do it. It might be more convenient for you to take over, but you can’t learn things for them. Demonstrate, then let them try. YouTube is also a great video teaching resource.

Make it fun. Open up a game of solitaire. Computer games are a great way to help anyone build basic computer mouse and keyboard skills.