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Don't make your beloved technophobe beg. This year, offer them the gift of online help (yours or a pro's), then stand back and watch them take over the internet.

In-Home Solutions

We hire experts to fix our washing machines and unplug our drains. Why fight with our information devices on our own?

One excellent gift of tech is hiring a pro to get your loved one’s smart phone, tablet, computer, smart appliances and home-technology integration systems talking to one another the way they were meant to.

Start by contacting an expert at a service like, which sends out technicians and trainers to homes in several big Canadian cities. (They also offer remote tutoring online to homes outside their service areas.) Their specialty is training seniors but they also work with families of any age and size. Think of them as an on-call I.T. department, says founder Jennifer Cairns.

Social Media Training

Even if your tech set-up skills aren’t tutor-quality, you might be a Kardashian-level social-media savant. And that’s a valuable resource to offer newbies: the gift of your time to tune up their social media accounts. It’s hard to know what image we project into cyberspace, and sometimes it takes a well-intentioned third party to help us prune and spruce and present ourselves in the best light. To provide this service, you need a good ear and eye, and a sense of diplomacy. (And for practical tips and tricks, keep an eye on industry blogs such as Or, if you think your technologically challenged recipient would prefer an impartial opinion, hit and send them a title like The Rough Guide To Social Media for Beginners or Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Online Pitfalls

Once you get your loved one online, it’s important to warn them about the dangers that lurk there. Have them take the online quiz, “How Savvy Are You About Scams?” to gauge his or her level of distrust. And be sure to check out the site’s link to Being Safe Online, which explains how customers’ sensitive information is protected and offers handy tips for guarding one’s interests online.

Financial Solutions

Perhaps the best tech-support gift of all is teaching someone how to get the most out of their banking products, services and payment solutions. You could show them, for instance, how online shopping and mobile payments work and set up their debit and credit cards for Apple Pay or their bank’s digital wallet to make their online and in-store purchases a snap. If they’re wary of online shopping, quote Barry Choi to them. He’s the Toronto personal finance expert and blogger who runs According to Choi, “Canadian Interac debit cards are among the safest in the world, as each transaction is one-time only and nothing gets stored. And Apple Pay has its own level of security added in as well.” His rule of thumb for cautious online shoppers: “You can trust any big [retailer] you regularly deal with in real life. And if it is a new or unfamiliar site, just do a little Googling to determine if there are any complaints or scams reported before you buy.” He loves the idea of gifting tech support and offers just one caveat: “You may have to stock up on patience. But teaching someone now means you aren’t doing it for them later!”

Legal Disclaimers

Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries.