Today’s generation gaps are bigger than ever and technology is one of the biggest reasons this cultural space continues to widen. Think of it this way, while many youngsters are fully engaged with their handheld devices, their grandparents may be struggling with today’s technology. Grandma and Grandpa’s idea of a handheld device might be a book instead of an iPad, smartphone or laptop. If you were to say ask them to hand you a tablet, they may grab a pad of paper with pen or pencil rather than the newest Samsung or Apple device.
Instead of separating these alienated family members with all of today’s technology, perhaps there are some ways that we can join the two together rather than pulling them apart. Here’s four tips on how we can get them both on the same page, albeit an online home page rather than a paper one:
#1 – Upgrade and Update
As parents, we might be stuck in the middle of this divide and to help bridge the gap, perhaps we can encourage the grandparents to upgrade their cell phone to a smartphone. Maybe we could get them a new tablet for their birthday, Christmas or just because we’d like them to have one. They’re relatively inexpensive nowadays, very user friendly and fairly easy to operate.
#2 – Yearn to Learn
On a personal note, our family’s smartphone plan and package includes us as parents, our twenty-something daughter and her eighty-something grandmother. The last time we upgraded our phones, we were all present at the brick-and-mortar storefront to get our new devices. Before I knew it, there was our daughter showing grandma all the basics of her new iPhone.
At your next family get together, encourage the youngsters to show the older generation the basics of smartphone usage including taking pictures and how to post on social media sites like Facebook. After all, it couldn’t have been that long ago since the kids were “newbies” on their devices.
#3 – Connecting Online
According to AARP, more grandparents are connecting with their grandchildren through social media platforms. For example, sixty-nine year old Rosalie Espinosa lives in suburban Kansas City and her grandkids live in Texas and are frequent Facebook users.
“They hate to take pictures for Grandma, but they love to take pictures for their friends,” she said with a smile. Rosalie is also fond of Skyping with her far-off family saying, “It was great when I wanted to see something special from my grandkids, like my granddaughter dressed up for her prom or seeing a new baby.”
These virtual conversations and photographic posts on social media can really help bridge the miles for families that don’t get see each other in person as much as they would like.
#4 – Another Pair of Protective Eyes
Keeping our kids safe online is challenging at best and according to statistics, 47% of parents don’t know what their children are doing online and 45% of teens say they would change their online behaviors if they knew their parents were watching. It only stands to reason that the same teens would be safer if their grandparents were given access to their social sites.
While many parents will insist they have access to their kid’s online networking abilities, it’s obvious from the numbers that most may not have the time to monitor their children’s online behavior. Perhaps grandma or grandpa could help to keep an extra eye on them while they’re on the internet.
Don’t let today’s technology endanger our kid’s safety or their important relationships with their elders. With a little planning, we can all be more connected even if we’re separated by many miles or less face-to-face time. Get your kids to safely share more with their grandparents and vice versa on the world wide web.
About the Author
Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics.
Photo Credit: Photos were provided by Hilary Smith.