Is it OK to change Mom’s default browser?

Alexis Madrigal, Atlantic’s new tech blogger, poses the question this way:

You hop onto a parent’s computer to check your email or do a little work. But, to your dismay, the only browser available is Internet Explorer and (for whatever reason) you don’t like Internet Explorer. You download Firefox (or Chrome), then install and launch it.

Firefox (or Chrome) then asks whether you want to make it your (Mom’s) default browser. Of course you do! But should you really make this decision for Mom? Yes, says Madrigal, quoting a mashup of Tweeted responses:

“It’s our responsibility to help our parents figure out technology” and “all the powers of the universe implore you to do so.” Besides, “she probably does not know any better” and “you’ll feel better.” Just make sure to “import the bookmarks.” And you might “give a face-to-face lesson,” or say, “I updated your browser to a newer version,” or “take the covert route” and “install an IE skin on it.” Otherwise “be prepared to get a phone call in the next couple of days about ‘what’s wrong with the internet.’ Don’t be dogmatic, though. The “only real moral imperative: update security and scrub malware… good ol’ nonextensible, can’t f— it up too badly IE has a lot going for it for tech-unsavvy moms.”

My late mother never encountered the World Wide Web. It’s my sons’ default browsers I’m tempted to change. But I’m not that stupid.

Note to Joshua and Silas: IE is unbearable; Firefox, Opera, and Safari have gradually morphed into bloatware. Switch to Chrome. I know you tried it before, and weren’t impressed, but try again. It has improved as the others have deteriorated. It’s now blazingly fast.