Develop a support networkΒΆ

Computers and the Internet are confusing. As illustrated in previous sections, sometimes things on the Internet are deliberately misleading. It can be very helpful to have a support network of people you can turn to for help when computers are confusing you. There are many resources available locally:

  • The Kitchener Public Library holds drop-in sessions for computer support Wednesday evenings.
  • The Bits and Bytes computer club offers meetings and workshops for older computer users. They meet several times a month.
  • The Waterloo Public Library offers a tech connect service where volunteers can help answer your questions.
  • Volunteers at Computer Recycling can help answer some of your questions.
  • There are computer support volunteers in the public labs of The Working Centre who can also help answer questions.

In addition, you might find some friends or family members who can help you. However, keep in mind that people who are very knowledgable about computers do not always want to help you, and many people who think they know a lot about computers actually don’t. If you are considering finding a computer buddy among your friends and family, ask the following questions:

  • Is this person willing to help me? Does this person have the energy and time to do so, or would I be imposing myself?
  • Do I trust this person’s judgement? Some people who know a lot about computers take unnecessary risks that can jeopardize your computer safety.
  • Does this person make me feel stupid when I talk with them about computer stuff? If so, that is a bad sign. You want to find somebody who will be patient with you, and who can explain computer concepts to you at a level you can understand.
  • How can I compensate and appreciate this person for their time and effort?

If you find a trustworthy computer buddy, you are very fortunate, and you should be careful not to abuse this relationship by being overly demanding. Asking these people for advice is usually quick; asking them to fix your computer often takes a lot of their time, and you should not expect them to do this regularly (especially if they are helping you for free).