In today’s world, being “computer illiterate” probably isn’t a good sign. We can often see older people struggling with some easy things on computers, and it might be something used for them. This article will explore some good alternatives to using “computer illiterate.”
What Do You Call People Who Are “Computer Illiterate”?
There are plenty of good words we can use for this phrase. Why not try out one of the following:
- Novice computer user
- Computer beginner
- Digitally illiterate
- Beginner computer user
- Clueless about computers
The preferred version is “novice.” It works well to show that someone is completely new to an area or a field, and they do not know anything about it. When using it in the context of computers, we can show that someone has no way of solving basic problems.
“Novice” works well to show that someone does not have much understanding about computers. We can use it whenever we want to show that someone doesn’t know how the most basic methods work and that they often require help when it should be easy.
The definition of “novice,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person who is beginning to learn a job or an activity and has little or no experience or skill in it.”
- As a computer novice, my granddad always makes the most hilarious mistakes.
- They’re computer novices, which is why they always have to come along and ask me for solutions.
- She’s a computer novice, and I wish that she showed more interest in understanding more about them!
“Neophyte” is a great word that shows someone has no experience with computers. We can use it (often with the word “computer” written before it) to show that someone has to learn a lot before they can truly understand how computers work.
These examples will help you make sense of it:
- You’re a computer neophyte. It’s not your fault, but it’s time you start learning more about them.
- Stop being such a neophyte, and start putting some time into learning more about them!
- He’s a computer neophyte, so don’t judge him too harshly if he doesn’t know what’s going on!
“Computer-challenged” is an interesting choice we can use. It works to show that someone is “challenged” when it comes to computers. This means they often struggle with basic inputs and have a dislike for trying to learn anything new that might help them.
Why not check out these examples to see it in action:
- I’m computer-challenged, meaning that my grandson always has to help me with basic things!
- I don’t mean to be computer-challenged, but I never managed to understand why they’re so important.
- He is computer-challenged, but I love him too much to tell him that!
Novice Computer User
“Novice computer user” includes the word “novice” to help with our explanation. We can be more specific by showing that someone is new to the world of being a “computer user.” They often need much more help than is reasonably expected from others.
Check out these examples to help you:
- I’m a novice computer user, and I’ll happily admit that any day if I can get some help.
- He’s a novice computer user, so don’t be surprised if he gets stumped.
- You’re both novice computer users, which is why I always have to come along and pick up your slack!
“Computer beginner” works well to show that someone has only just started learning about “computers.” While there is still hope that they might develop their literacy, it is unlikely because they’ve often left it too late for them to develop any true understanding.
Check out these examples to see how it works:
- As computer beginners, they have a hard time getting to grips with the basics.
- You’re a computer beginner, so I’ll let you off for that silly comment.
- Don’t be a computer beginner all through your life! There are interesting things you can learn from them!
A “technophobe” is somebody who dislikes new technology. This word often works best when talking about the older generations who are stuck in the past. They will turn away from new ideas or technological advancements in favor of things they’re comfortable with.
Here are some examples to help you work it:
- As a technophobe, I make sure to avoid any new releases. I like my old phone much more than any of the new ones.
- You’re both technophobes, which explains why you both have a hard time accepting some of the new things on the market.
- My grandmother is basically a technophobe. I actually think she’s scared of new technology more than anything!
“Cyberphobic” follows the same idea as above. It mostly shows that certain people have a specific dislike for anything related to technology and computers (the word “cyber” covers this). They will often refuse to learn more about any of these things.
Here are a few ways you can get this one to work:
- My grandparents are some of the most cyberphobic people I’ve ever met! They need to stop living in the past and accept the present.
- You’re too cyberphobic to get hacked, granddad! Don’t even worry about it; no one knows how to find you online!
- He’s very cyberphobic, which has made it particularly challenging for me to get anything done to help him.
“Digitally illiterate” is another great way to show that someone has no skills on a computer. We can use “digital” to refer to computing and technology, which also shows that someone often requires much more help than they have any right to ask for.
These examples might help you to work this one out:
- My father is digitally illiterate, though he claims he grew up with computers and video game consoles.
- I’m pretty sure you’re digitally illiterate because a lot of these functions that I’ve asked for you to get through are easy for most people.
- He is digitally illiterate, and I forgot to tell you that! Sorry, but Dave can’t be trusted with any of our computer-based schemes!
Beginner Computer User
“Beginner computer user” combines some more of the choices from above. We can use “beginner” again to show that someone is just starting out. While there is always hope they might develop their skills, it might take them a long time to get anything done!
These examples will help you to make sense of it:
- I’m not a beginner computer user on purpose. I’ve just never put any value into learning much about them.
- You are both beginner computer users, so I’ll let you off for asking such a silly question! Let me show you how to fix it.
- As beginner computer users, my grandparents are always calling me up to ask how to turn on the internet!
Clueless About Computers
“Clueless about computers” is a simple phrase we can use to describe someone who frustrates us with their lack of knowledge. “Clueless” is often a harsh word to describe someone’s inability to learn anything useful that might aid them.
Check out these examples to see how it works:
- My grandfather is truly clueless about computers, and I can’t stand that I have to go and help him almost every day!
- You are clueless about computers! Maybe you should take a college class to learn about these basic functions.
- Honestly, my mother is clueless about computers. If I leave her alone for long enough with one, she might end up breaking it!
What Does It Mean To Be “Computer Illiterate”
Let’s quickly circle back to the original word to see what we can make of the meaning.
“Computer illiterate” means that someone has no idea how to do basic things on a computer. It means that they do not know how functions and simple software works when they use it. They will often rely on those around them to help them out.
People like this can be difficult to deal with, as they will often refuse to learn anything more about how to work with technology or computers. Unfortunately, that means if you know someone who is “computer illiterate,” you might be called to help them more often than you want to.
Some people are always willing to try and learn, but unfortunately, even these people might not understand basic mechanics or methods you might think are easy.
It’s best not to judge these people too harshly, as they often were not raised to work with computers the same way as you. If you can offer them assistance as and when they need it, that would be ideal.
What Is The Opposite Of “Computer Illiterate”
The opposite of “computer illiterate” is “computer literate.” We can use this phrase to show that someone has a full grasp and understanding of how computers work and all the main types of software that they’ll likely use whenever they apply for a new job.
You may also like: 11 Formal Ways To Say “Tech-Savvy” On Your Resume
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.