Created By: SkyeStryker on March 12, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on November 25, 2014

Adults are Technologically Challenged

Adults are either incapable of using technology or just plain bad at it.

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Trope
In the world of computers, children are the adults.

It's become a very common practice to get a few laughs out of the audience by showing how much some adults go through to undertake a simple piece of technology.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • The Breaker: New Waves. Upon being told that he can us an app to find Shioon and Jini, he responds by asking a Mook what an app is.

Live-Action TV
  • One of the earliest examples of this trope came in an episode of Full House, when Jesse needed a lot of help working his new laptop. This example is interesting in that Jesse may have been a father a father, but he wasn't very old.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this with Giles and computers. The teenage characters lampshaded it a few times.
  • Angel was notorious for never learning to use his cell phone.

Western Animation
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Marge is trying to find something online and has a lot of trouble, including accidentally buying a washing machine (she wasn't looking for a washing machine). She gets frustrated with the kids' 'advice' and says "if it's so easy why don't you do it?!" Bart presses two keys and gets exactly what she's looking for.
  • Phineas and Ferb has Major Monogram, who does not grasp texting. He thinks TTYL is the sinister initials of someone communicating with Doofenshmirtz. Carl has to clarify.

Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • March 12, 2012
    Maxaxle
    • Science Marches On example: when VCRs came out the running gag was that anyone over the age of 18 had no idea how to use them, and the clock would always be blinking 12:00.

      • Does anyone still know how to set the clock? -Maxaxle
  • March 12, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    The word is "Technologically". Check your spelling before trying to release a YKTTW.
  • March 12, 2012
    chicagomel
    • Buffy The Vampire Slayer did this with Giles and computers. The teenage characters lampshaded it a few times.
    • Angel was notorious for never learning to use his cell phone.
  • March 12, 2012
    Maxaxle
    No Real Life Examples Please before we get flooded with "My grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle/parent/etc..."...But there was this one professor I heard about on Not Always Right...
    • Adrian Monk from...well, [[/Series/Monk]] is shown to have never used the internet, and his OCD prompts him to alphabetize the police chief's keyboard.
    Ergh, having trouble formatting that...
  • March 13, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^Your concern is about the page getting flooded with Troper Tales, which I don't think should become a problem. Also, remove the first slash and replace the brackets with curly brackets (same button, hold shift).
  • March 13, 2012
    Chabal2
    • Dave Barry's book on computers has as part of the instructions "find a five-year-old child and ask him to install it".
    • Fox Trot: Roger is generally incapable of operating a computer (though it varies from strip to strip, from thinking "back up the hard drive" means "push computer back ubntil it falls off the desk" to play chess against it (he always loses). I believe Word Of God stated he was still trying to catch up the technology of The Eighties.
  • March 13, 2012
    CrystalBlue
    Truth In Television for many adults, especially those born before 1980. They are known as Digital Immigrants, since they had to "immigrate" over to the world of technology, whilst their children born after 1980 into a world brimming with technology and as such they find it easier to learn are known as Digital Natives since they are native to technology and not in the least challenged by it, unlike their parents or the older generation born before 1980.
  • March 13, 2012
    captainpat
    The description needs to be rewritten so it's not an Example As A Thesis.
  • March 13, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of The Simpsons Marge is trying to find something online and has a lot of trouble, including accidentally buying a washing machine (she wasn't looking for a washing machine). She gets frustrated with the kids' 'advice' and says "if it's so easy why don't you do it?!" Bart presses two keys and gets exactly what she's looking for.
  • March 13, 2012
    Bisected8
  • March 16, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Phineas And Ferb has Major Monogram, who does not grasp texting. He thinks TTYL is the sinister initials of someone communicating with Doofenshmirtz. Carl has to clarify.
  • May 4, 2013
    Noah1
    • The Regular Show epsiode "Skips vs. Technology" his Skips, who for centuries prided himself on being the Park's Mr Fixit, discover he does not know the first thing about computers.
  • May 4, 2013
    StarSword
    I think we had a similar YKTTW a couple months ago. Can't remember the name unfortunately.

    EDIT: Now that I've looked at the comment dates, this is the thread I was thinking of.
  • May 4, 2013
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Parodied in this clip from This Hour Has 22 Minutes; Alexander Graham Bell is portrayed as getting frustrated trying to explain the telephone to his mother.
  • May 4, 2013
    McKathlin
    It might be worth mentioning the broader, related trope: Adults Are Useless.
  • May 5, 2013
    MartyD82
    I don't think real life examples should be allowed here, since they're too prone to natter and over-generalization (as if Age Stereotyping isn't enough of a problem on TV Tropes). Plus, according to That Other Wiki, there's debate over what should be the "cutoff date" for Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants (some say 1980, others say 1960). Many even argue that, contrary to popular belief, Digital Natives are NOT necessarily more technologically savy than Digital Immigrants. They're just more "technology dependent" (meaning they rely more on technology to get by in day-to-day life than their older peers). In Real Life, there are many "Digital Immigrants" that are just as technologically savy as most "Digital Natives" (how else do digital natives learn how to operate a computer?).
  • May 5, 2013
    AmyGdala
    Sure, no real life examples of course.

    • Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs - Close to the film's climax, the lead character phones his father and asks him to email him a file. This proves an impossible task for the man, who needs step-by-step instructions (told to "move the mouse across the screen," he picks the mouse up and presses it to the monitor) and ultimately sends a silly cat video by mistake.

  • May 5, 2013
    MartyD82

    I would point out that this is gradually becoming a Discredited Trope, due to how universally mainstream things like the internet and cellphones have become, and the fact that keeping up with technology is now seen as mandatory for day-to-day survival. In fact with the exception of "Zits," (which began publication when the internet was just becoming mainstream), it's very rare in modern-day (ie. post-90's) works to depict parents or teachers as technologically incompetent. It will almost always be grandparents or great grandparents who fall under this stereotype.

    Usually, if an author wants to depict a technology-related parent/child conflict in a modern-day work, it will instead be a case of Hypocritical Humor:

    Bob's Mom - "Bob, you've been surfing the internet for two hours, now. Go outside and play!"

    Bob - "Alright mom." ::Bob goes outside to play, and his mom gets on the internet::

    ::Two hours later, Bob returns home to see that his mom is still surfing the internet::
  • May 5, 2013
    foxley
    Roger fits this description in Foxtrot, to the point of being Walking Techbane. Andy is more tech savvy, however, often to the point of getting caught in whatever the latest tech fad is.
  • May 6, 2013
    Arivne
    Newspaper Comics
    Cavewoman: Me always have to have my son come and make the fire.
  • May 6, 2013
    Arivne
    This trope is about modern electronic technology such as computers, VCRs and cell phones. It's possible for someone to know how to use less advanced technology (hammer, screwdriver, wrench, etc.) but not know how to use more recent high tech stuff.

    Suggest changing the Laconic to: Adults can't use modern electronic technology very well or at all.
  • May 6, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Played With in this Toyota Venza commercial where we see a daughter bemoaning her parents' lack of proper computer social skills. "I read an article - well, the majority of an article." We then see the parents out having actual adventures with real live friends, while the daughter sits at home watching puppy videos on youtube.
  • November 24, 2014
    DAN004
  • November 25, 2014
    lazybanshee
    guess we'll have to merge the examples with that page then
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=x80ijkp1sqmlrc8k8288l6pe