11 Times Our Parents Failed At The 21st Century

Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Keeping up with the pace of modern technology is rough. Even those of us that are tuned in to the newest apps and hardware can find it overwhelming. (Peach? Come on, I just figured out Snapchat!)

So it's no wonder that our parents and grandparents may stumble a bit as they navigate our increasingly connected world. Sometimes even the most well-meaning and tech savvy parentals can slip up. And when they do, it's often really, really funny — and maybe a little cringeworthy.

From Instagram and Facebook etiquette, to phone shopping, we crowdsourced 11 stories from Refinery29 staffers about their parents' snafus with modern tech. You can read on for our tales, and feel free to share your own experiences in the comments.

Just remember, mom and dad: We're laughing with you, not at you.
1 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“We set up an Instagram account for my mom, but she thought it was just her camera roll. She would take the weirdest photos and post them on her Instagram without knowing. I'm talking selfies with my dad, sideways photos of my house, random blurry photos....yeah. One day I saw them all on her page and was like, 'You do know everyone can see this, not just you?' So, if you want to see random pictures of my dad on the internet, check her Instagram.”
-Eliza Florendo, Social Production Assistant
2 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“My mom once posted a picture of my dad on Facebook posing with a bonefish (a Caribbean sport fish) he had just caught. Her caption? 'George and his boner.'"
-Marshall Bright, Editorial Assistant, Living
3 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“I went to go get a new cell phone with my dad when I was in high school. He was looking around with me and was comparing the new phones to his phone. The salesperson came over to us and helped me get the coolest phone my father would pay for. It was then that the salesperson looked at my dad, and asked what he could help him with. My dad had a flip phone and was looking at a smartphone, a big upgrade! The guy started off by saying, 'Well, this phone can do everything that your current phone can do...' but before he could finish my dad said, "Well, if it does the same things, then I'll stick with the phone I know," and walked out. It was hilarious and so embarrassing!”
-Elle, First Impressionist
4 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“My mom didn't realize that Facebook wall posts weren't private, so she wrote an extensive message to her BFF about her ‘hot new boyfriend who wants sex all the time.’ It was horrible — for both of us — when I had to explain to her what I had seen, and how to take it down.”
5 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“My grandmother couldn't figure out the '@' sign for emails. My mother gave her an email address, but the email never came through. My mom later found out that my grandmother had tried to send the email to "daughteratgmaildotcom." We tried to explain it, but Nana could never quite wrap her head around it. We eventually had to give up and tell her to just call everyone.”
-Lilli Petersen, Staff News Writer
6 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“My parents just learned how to screenshot on my mom's phone, so I get a few dozen a week — new Instagram feeds she is following, texts with my sister, posts from Refinery I've written, tweets about the weather, etc.”
-Morgan Baila, Trend Entertainment Writer
7 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“My mom has wanted a Lexus (the car), probably for 15 years, and my dad would never budge. Finally, for her 60th birthday this past year, he got her the car, and wanted to surprise her. He put a bow on it and everything. He was so proud of himself, he tried sending a picture to my sister and I, but instead added my mom. Essentially, he blew the whole surprise, and my mom saw the text while she was in an airport bathroom. She was super confused, but then realized, and apparently started crying.“
-Katie Zubrow, Account Manager
8 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“Let's hear it for chronic overdoing it. Dad: ‘I can't get my laptop on the internet, so I'm reinstalling the OS.’”
-Steve Shalit, VP, Strategic Partnerships & Ad Product Strategy
9 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“Something totally hilarious happened to me over the holidays with my grandma. She has an iPhone, but doesn't totally know how to work her email or inbox. Every day for the last few weeks, she'd been getting some spam called a "SnapF*ckMsg" from a girl asking her to meet up for a hookup that night. She doesn't understand how to block or unsubscribe from these emails, so she continues to get them every day."

"We have no idea what got her on this list, but the fact that someone is sending an 80-year-old woman these spam messages is just too good.”
-Michaela Rollings, Marketing Coordinator
10 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“When my mom got a new phone a year or two ago, I think it must have had a setup prompt to create a signature…for text messages. Every single text I got from her had a signature.
"How are you?" - Deborah K. Maltby
"I made a delicious soup today!" - Deborah K. Maltby
"Are pleated skirts 'in'?" - Deborah K. Maltby’”
-Anna Maltby, Director, Health & Wellness
11 of 11
Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
“I once shared a web link to one of my Instagram photos with my mom. Apparently, she would go back and check the link for my updated photos. Then, on the phone one day, she was talking about how she'd be away from the computer for a few days and would only have her phone. ‘How will I be able to see your Instagram photos?’ ‘Mom... you know Instagram is an app right? That's how I'm able to upload all those photos.’ *Silence* (She is now a happy Instagram user herself.)”
-Christina Bonnington, Technology Editor

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