When I gave my mother an iPhone for Christmas last year, I thought she was the last person alive who didn’t have a smartphone. She had some interest in technology, but it was my talking to her about the safety and convenience of a smartphone that finally convinced her to give it a try. But what do millennials have to offer when it comes to teaching seniors about technology.

According to the Pew Research Center, 4 in 10 seniors now own a smartphone. This number has doubled since 2013. Internet and social media usage are also on the rise, with 67% of seniors regularly going online and 34% using social media.

Benefits of Technology

Technology has amazing potential to help our older generations. Email and Skype can help families stay connected across the miles. Education sites allow us to take a wide range of enriching courses from home. YouTube has thousands of exercise programs and workouts. Online games can provide cognitive stimulation. Health websites provide valuable information. Health tracking technology now ranges from digital pill boxes to extensive remote monitoring of daily activities that may allow people to live at home better and longer.

When my mom got her iPhone, it took about 5 minutes before she got stuck and my 4-year-old nephew grabbed it and started swiping away. Seeing how quickly young children grasp technology can be both awe inspiring and discouraging for seniors. This is where the Millennial generation can help. We (vaguely) remember a time when using technology wasn’t as essential as breathing. Millennials love using, creating, and teaching others about the thing that has come to define our generation.

Tips for Teaching Seniors about Technology

Start Slow

You can’t expect seniors to recognize all of the ways technology can help them right away, Overwhelming them with the incredible variety of services, products, and apps can backfire. The best way to introduce someone to the benefits of technology is to use it together. Mention how much you enjoy video-chatting with your sibling, and then set up a time to do so when your older loved one can watch. Start with just one technology or program that your loved one has shown interest in and let them become comfortable with that before introducing others.

Keep it Simple

Offer up “tech tapas”- bite-sized pieces of information they can practice over and over. Remember things that come easily to you- jumping between screens or understanding the difference between streaming and downloading songs- are not second nature to people who didn’t grow up with these technologies. Don’t talk down to seniors, but instead build up their confidence by helping them master basic tasks one at a time.

Let Them Handle the Device

Nothing is more frustrating than watching someone fly through a device with ease, only to get your hands on it yourself and feel completely lost. When you are teaching seniors about technology, keep your hands off the device. Adults learn by doing, so let them practice each step themselves.

Teach Them About Online Safety

You know the many risks and scams associated wit