How to deal with your parents' IT problems without murdering them

ARE your elderly parents always pestering you with badly-explained computer problems? Here’s how to help without strangling them with the mouse cable.

Learn to think in a clueless way 

Have your parents repeatedly searched Yahoo mail for ‘Does B and Q have patio furniture for a small garden? Thank you, Margaret and Iain’ and received no matches? This means the internet is broken. It is now up to you to fix it.

Do not expect them to use normal terms

They absolutely will not use the correct terms for everyday technology. Thus the mouse they still use will be called ‘the controller’, YouTube is ‘the music player’ and the computer going into sleep mode means ‘the internet must have finished for today’.

Have several very large glasses of wine beforehand

Heavy drinking is the only way to remain calm and non-murderous when your parents explain they’ve handed over their bank details after clicking on an ad with a picture of a luxury yacht entitled, ‘Retired poeple’s are making MILLION $$$s!!! Are you ready for OPPORTUNITY of a LIFE’S TIME???’

Remember they have been scared silly by the media

Retired people consume a lot of media scare stories, whether it’s the Daily Express or Radio 4. If they’ve minimised a window and can’t remember how to get it back, it’s only natural for them to think it’s Russian criminals gradually downloading their pensions like in a 1990s hacker movie.

Take a couple of police officers with you

When you go over to inspect their malfunctioning laptop yet again, only to discover they haven’t plugged it in for a month, two burly coppers may be all that stops you throttling them as the ‘red mist’ descends.

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How to get through the half-term holiday with gin, and other tips

NORMAL time is measured in hours and days. But school holidays are measured in gins and cries in the toilet. Here are some half-term tips to keep the little sh*ts at bay.

Start a craft project using all the gin bottles you’re getting through. Maybe make them into candle holders, in the hope that one of the kids sets fire to the house. It would be a relief to offload them to borstal for a bit. 

Teach them a topical new game called ‘Quarantine’. This involves them lying quietly in their rooms for a week while you leave their meals by the door. All the people on the news are doing it, so it must be excellent. 

You’re not ghastly enough to have a trampoline in your garden, but find someone who does. Then arrange to go over for a playdate. Your kids will burn off all their energy and be exhausted husks when you get home – and it’s cost-effective because you get to drink someone else’s gin. Or possibly Lambrini.

Move the internet box to the Wendy House, so the kids can only get a signal there. Then set them up with Deliveroo so they can cater for themselves. They might emerge fairly obese, but it’s worth it for the time off meal prep and your six-year-old pestering you about getting her hair done like Billie Eilish.

Pick something you want to do and pass it off as a ‘learning project’. Fancy lazily rewatching a bunch of Marvel movies? Iron Man definitely teaches them science, and Spider-Man and Ant-Man are really all they need to know about insects. They’ll probably become top entomologists.