Mom Learns to Use Smartphone Illustrated by Chinese Netizen

Chinese comic/cartoon strip: Mom learns how to use mobile phone.

Chinese comic/cartoon strip: Mom learns how to use mobile phone.

The #1 hottest microblog post of the day currently on China’s Sina Weibo microblogging social network…

From Sina Weibo:

@伟大的安妮: Please don’t selfishly keep your life all to yourself. (Feelings after recently teaching my mom how to use a mobile phone)

[Note: The following image has been edited to include English translations next to the original Chinese text. Click on the image to view the original image posted on Sina Weibo.]


This microblog post was upvoted over 24k times, with over 70k reshares/forwards, and over 9k comments (at time of translation).

Comments from Sina Weibo:




My mom is like this too.


The men are silent and the women in tears.


This is why I’ve taken my mom off the blacklist [unblocked].


[泪] I’m in tears, but I still don’t dare let my parents see…


How come my dad very contemptuously said to me: Us two don’t need to follow each other.


I was teaching my mom just today. It’s just that the difficulty is a little high.


Yep, I recently got a new mobile phone for my dad and taught him how to use Weixin [aka WeChat] and Weibo. Seeing my dad and mom on one hand laughing at the other about how they’ve spent half the day learning but still haven’t learned, and on the other hand teaching and learning from each other, has really stirred up some things in my heart.


When blaming our parents for not understanding us, actually it’s also because we’re stingy with sharing our lives with them.


I think this is also not right. Some things on Weibo will cause our parents to worry, so filtering out some of the things that makes us sad and not telling them is also a sort of being responsible.


Alright then, I’ll take my mom off the blacklist [unblock].


My mom is also a person who asks me for photos everyday and then prints them out to make a photo album for me.


Move home to live with your parents, or bring your parents to you, so everyone can see each other in person everyday [instead].


Yeah, for example, just now, as someone who has never takes a photo with her, I asked her to come take a photo with me, and she even spent a long time in front of the mirror. I felt so sad, and after taking the photo, she even said to wait until my dad comes home so the three of us can take a picture together. I suddenly though, I don’t think I actually have a single photo of me with my parents, not a single one. [泪]


I’m always cussing, so I’m afraid my mom won’t be able to handle it. [拜拜]


although I wouldn’t want my mom to print out my photos to place them or hang them on the wall. [挖鼻屎] Family is always the most valuable wealth one can have, no matter how far you are. [心]


I’ve just been reminded of something. Last summer, I suddenly thought of seeing what my dad’s QQ [instant messaging service] screen name is, only to discover that it was simply called “dad”. I laughed for half the day, but also suddenly realize that for us, in our QQs, we have friends, coworkers, partners, family, but for my dad, his QQ only has one use and identity, which is “dad”!!!


My mom and I often video chat as well as play together and PK [compete] in 天天酷跑 [a QQ/Weixin mobile game]. When I take a selfie, I’ll send it to my mom to see. Everyday we call to gossip. My mom even uses Weixin whereas I still don’t even have it. ←_←


Fuck, suddenly I want to cry.


I love you, mom.


Fuck, I actually cried reading this.


Recently I too have been teaching my mom how to use Weixin. She asked me how to send/post stuff and two days after giving her instructions, she was frequently posting to her friends circle… Usually, this kind of people who “disturb” their friends circle with such high density/frequency postings, I will decisively blacklist [block], but this time I didn’t. Time flows between people of two generations, and as we have become adults, they have become children. Sometimes we cannot understand their interests, only because they have gotten old. Just like when they taught us how to play with toys when we were small, now it is our turn.


My 70-year-old mother also knows how to go online now.

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • Germandude

    First world problems…

    • Stefan Xu

      Yes, China’s quickly becoming first world.

      • Germandude

        I see you are wearing your rose-colored glasses again the last couple of days.

        • Stefan Xu

          Just being sarcastic this time…:p

          • Germandude

            Well then +1. It should be ironic though ;-)

  • ex-expat

    Is it just me, or are those all white people?

    • Stefan Xu

      No, they’re supposed to be Chinese. They don’t look white, having brown hair doesn’t make you white.

      • ex-expat

        Do you know what “in jest” means?

      • David

        A lot of Chinese have pink cheeks, do they?

        • Stefan Xu

          It’s just cartoon. The Simpsons don’t really look like real humans either.

          • David

            Very true they do not and of course your right, this is only a cartoon. The only way for us to actually know what the artist who drew it was thinking is to ask him. But since everybody does not do that each person sees what they want in the cartoon (one of the hallmarks of art). The only thing, for me, in this cartoon that looks Chinese is the writing.

  • miomeinmio

    I taught both my parents and my close friends back home how to use WeChat when I moved to China. Now, if we think of each other during the day, we can just send a message that will be waiting when the other wakes up. We even have a group chat. :)

    I really liked the Netizen’s comments on this one.

    • David

      I also use WeChat to talk to friends and family back home. It works out well. Even though I Google chat with my wife (also hate SKYPE) we do small chats on WeChat.

      • richardzhu99

        wowo, u guys are also using wechat. impressive

        • hehehehh

          just use whatsapp ffs.. i only use wechat for people nearby function.

      • markus peg

        Skype often fails in China, if you talk about certain words it will even cut off.
        Anyone would be a fool to think Wechat is not accessible to censorship aswell. Bing, Baidu, Skype all do it i’m sure Wechat does too. Now if you don’t care then i agree its the most used and useable in China. If you do care, i believe Korea’s “Line” which is the same kind of thing to be safer, though who really knows at the end of the day…

        • Dick Leigh

          If you use english, there’s basically no censorship threat because chinese censors probably won’t understand.

  • Alphy

    I got many of my non-asian friends on wechat. My parents are on there too. They do keep tabs on me on there once in a while, but yes they do have a hard time figuring how to use it.

    I just learn to keep my digital footprint clean and small, and avoid clicking “like” on everything that I might find funny. That said, I don’t really have much to hide from my friends and parents.

    I know some people like to keep an alter-ego of sort online, my youngest cousin from NY, he unfriend me and even his sister as soon as he got a girlfriend. My older girl cousin did had this “OMG you did what!?” moment when she found out I taught her mom how to use Wechat and Facebook, but in the end I think she find it enjoyable talking to her mom online.. I think..

  • ScottLoar

    Ah, this is so true. But an even older generation like that of my mother-in-law has strange habits, like holding the phone to her ear to listen, then holding the phone out in front of her to speak into it, as if it’s a person. She did the same with the cradle phones.

  • Stefan Xu

    Why don’t young people like to share their life with your parents? It’s like this in the rest of the world too.

    • miomeinmio

      I have so many friends who tell me vehemently how they block their parents from FB. I’m like… Why though? What are you doing that is SO shameful?

  • ScottLoar

    Each generation thinks theirs is the first to discover sin.

    Parents really just want to know and see what their kids think and say, not to
    pass judgement, just like my own grandma who would not leave until the postman came, waiting for the letters from her grandkids who never wrote (I know that, and I live with that knowledge so many years onward).

    I see my wife’s face light up when she reads from our daughter, or when Wechat is
    on and our daughter is on. Me? I’m in the background now, it’s enough to see them chatting like little girls.

  • North-eastern

    My mum knows ‘send’ and ‘end’….

  • the ace of books

    Nananananananana GUILT TRIIIIP~

    It’s not a bad idea, sure, to stay in touch with your parents. if your parents are good people, it’s an even better idea. And if you love them, great! Do it!

    But don’t internet-anonymously guilt-trip randoms into oversharing with their parents. If you have to be guilt-tripped into spending time with your parents, you are doing it wrong in the first place.

    (Note that it’s a good idea to help your parents/the older generation use tech if they want to, yes. That is good. Just don’t try to foster a sense of guilt about it, as though You Must Do This And Be Filial, and If You Are Not Filial All The Time You Are A Bad Daughter/Son.)

    • miomeinmio

      That’s hardly what’s going on here.

      Yes, Chinese society is notorious for overbearing parents, and there’s a reason many children shut their parents out, but this is a cartoon about love and family, which are universal values on every society. Take it at face value.

  • whuddyasack

    This is the type of post that actually can make you both laugh and cry. Many of us can understand it. Many international students shared to me what it was like being away from their parents, so imagine how the parents feel when their only child (mostly) isn’t there for them to talk with anymore. I’m personally very attached to my parents but while father is very tech savvy, my mother is clueless on technology. She has dad to teach her hahaha. Great Annie made a great post.

    Seeing the netizens comments did allow a spark of humanity to shine. It was an awfully gloomy week prior to this article.

    • YourSupremeCommander


      Looking at some silly cartoon can make you cry & laugh?

      • whuddyasack

        Not the cartoon itself but the content and idea behind it. I guess the laugh and cry was more a description of the netizens’ reactions and it was something that I could understand. Personally, I can be moved by movies, cartoons, stories but it’s hard for me to shed tears. I was watching this Chinese CM that left many of the foreign Students in tears, but while I agreed it was good, regrettably I did not cry.

        Those Thai CMs however get me everytime. Each and every one of them.

  • SimpsonsGoldenAge


  • That’s what phablets are for.

    • markus peg

      I think Cleo means an “Old persons version” of a phone.
      the old retro Nokias are popular with old people these days because of the big buttons.

  • ex-expat

    Yes, I believe you are correct. My Chinese girlfriend also said that the concept is taken from Japanese animation. She actually has single eyelids, and, thankfully, does not want to change them. I think it is interesting the relationship the mainland has with things foreign. In some aspects, foreigners are hated, and in other aspects they are loved. I remember I would often see ads for a new mall, or something like it, in a subway, and there wouldn’t be a single Asian person in the ads. I would also often see things that were pretty nationalistic and ethnocentric.

  • richardzhu99

    man, its safe and convenient. Trust me, i got many foriegn friends using this stuff.

  • North-eastern

    lol @ Bill Gates…
    That’s like asking “Does fire burn?”.

    It is technology we’re talking about, sir. Nothing is secure. But in terms of call quality and speed etc., Wechat is far more better than any other. Video calling is great also.

  • miomeinmio

    No, Tencent servers are located in China, and therefore the system is subject to Chinese monitoring laws. There have been issues in the past where certain phrases could not be used by persons communicating with other persons entirely outside of China. It’s an issue.

    But, as North-Easter has pointed out, there is no program we use that is free from the logging and spying and hacking and blah blah. You will have to unfortunately write your own program and then set up your own private VPN between you and your wife to avoid that. I am not a programmer, but I am far from home, so I use what I can get. :/

  • North-eastern

    Unlike Viber or Whatsapp, Wechat gives you freedom to choose between your phone number, QQ number or an Unique ID of your choice to use as log in. People can add you by using any of these. But you don’t want to let everyone know your phone number, right?

    So, later you can unlink your phone number and use the Wechat ID to let others add you without revealing your phone number to them. Everyone wants to add you on wechat but not everyone should know your number.

  • markus peg

    LOL, that’s like bill gates asking if Microsoft word is any good.
    Microsoft now own Skype. +1 to you for the laugh.

  • Kai

    A lot of times wo cao strikes me as sounding more like “holy shit” but then again I’m not sure everyone uses that expression either. How would you have translated that? Technically Fauna’s translation isn’t wrong.

  • comradewang

    At first my folks were like “We don’t need smartphones!” but after I got them iPhones for Christmas, now there are no more dinner conversations….-_-

  • funky_man

    I phone is good for carrying in your pocket, old people can get an iPad mini.

  • Feilon

    I’ve been using wechat since I went to China and I love it.