Viral Thread Shares Basic Computer Skills Users Were ‘Shocked’ Others Didn’t Know

Computers have been around for decades, but longevity hasn’t resulted in everyone acquiring the basic set of computer knowledge.

A Reddit thread discussing a lack of basic computer skills that “shocked” users has made its rounds with over 43,000 upvotes and another 23,000-plus comments.

Some of the responses expose a gap between people born of a certain generation, as many users mention “older” computer users like their parents and coworkers who did not grow up with the technology like children of the 1980s, 1990s and beyond.

A recent thread on Reddit highlighted some of the basic computer skills some people are lacking. A man uses his Lenovo laptop computer on the patio of a Santa Fe, New Mexico, restaurant in 2017.
Robert Alexander/Getty

Other comments exposed either a sincere lack of wanting to learn anything or just people who feel the skills are not necessary to the benefit of their lives.

For instance, one of the top comments involved not knowing what “double-clicking” meant. Some people said people they know, such as a mother or father, don’t understand the simplicity of quickly clicking twice with a mouse.

Some replied that one click was followed by another after multiple seconds of time passed. Others said that they taught someone in their life how to double-click and now the act is constantly performed in situations where a single click is warranted.

And there are computer users who simply do not understand that they are in control of the machinery.

“Reminds me of a 72-year-old I worked with once,” one user said. “She had trouble trying to find the mouse cursor on the screen because ‘it keeps dancing around.’ That’s because you’re whipping the mouse around at light speed, Lynn.”

Multiple individuals in the IT field chimed in, telling their own personal horror stories of working in offices.

One tech supporter mentioned a client who summoned him because a prompt kept reappearing about needing to reboot the system so updates would finish installing. When the tech supporter said that meant that a reboot was necessary for updates to install, the client circled back to the beginning of the conversation and asked, “How do I do that?”

Others said that some people expressed fear regarding clicking certain tabs or pop-ups for fear of potentially downloading viruses. Another person in tech support said it is astounding how many people can’t find files or programs yet neglect to use a computer’s search function to locate them.

“The longer you work in IT, the more you realize that people who say ‘I’m not good with computers’ actually mean that they can’t be bothered to use a search bar…or even just read what’s right in front of them,” said one tech supporter.

Speaking of a search bar, many comments revolved around individuals’ inability to properly search for something on Google or otherwise. As one user noted, knowing how to search efficiently and effectively is its own skill.

“My family thinks I’m super intelligent and can fix any problem they have,” another user said. “Most of the time, I just look it up on google.”

Computer illiteracy also extends to desktop shortcuts, like using copy and paste, for quicker functioning. Not everyone knows how to use keyboard keys and, as one user noted, it doesn’t always necessarily dictate an age gap.

“I caught a coworker flipping back and forth between tabs while retyping a paragraph,” a user said. “When I showed her how to copy and paste, her response was ‘I can’t keep up with all this new technology. I am 38. She is 40.”

Other popular responses included not knowing how to reload or fix a jammed printer; not knowing how to input a URL; not having a monitor plugged in; seeking answers on social media rather than through a simple browser search; and turning on “Caps Lock” for one letter rather than using the “shift” key.

And, of course, advice included perhaps the most simple but often trustworthy computer “skill” necessary: Turning computers off and back on often tends to solve a lot of problems.

Previous post Ambient’s computer vision detects dangerous behaviors, but raises privacy concerns
Next post New device developed for easier link between brain, computer, and body