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Grandchildren & Grandparents: Using Technology to Stay Close

As a grandchild of three elderly grandparents, I can relate to the desire to keep in close contact with my grandparents.

Now that I am a young adult living on my own and working, my life is so busy that I don't get the same amount of quality time with my grandparents as I used to. Sometimes I feel I have grown too accustomed to my busy schedule that I sometimes forget to check-in with the family members I love and admire so much. This is tough for me because I don't want my family members to think I don't care about them!

So with the help of a gentle nudge from the family in the direction of technology, my Papa bought a cell phone a few years ago and an iPhone very recently! Since then I have been able to call Grandma & Papa when I have breaks during the day.  Normally they are out and about, away from their landline during the middle of the day. But the activities they are doing (e.g. going to the park, seeing a movie, socializing with friends) are ones they can pause in order to chat. This is a major improvement since normally the best time for me to call their house phone would be during their dinner and bedtime!

And that's just calling. There are so many other ways to use technology to stay close with your grandparents/grandchildren!

Here are some ways Grandparents & Grandchildren can use technology to stay close!

1. Cell Phones

Whether it's an Apple, Android or Windows phone, all these phones have gotten to the point where they are incredibly easy to use. And for those of use who just want the basic options to be BIG, BOLD and UNMISSABLE on the screen, there is such a thing as "Easy Mode" on most cell phones nowadays, too!

​Getting a cell phone can be daunting for a grandparent (or even my Dad, for that matter... who bought his first smart phone in 2015). But shopping around and learning how to use it is the perfect opportunity for Grandchild and Grandparent to spend some quality time together. It is important for the grandchild to have patience and empathy when explaining how to use the phone, as repetition in explanation will likely occur.

2.  Skype, Facetime & Google Hangouts

This is probably the most advertised way to talk with your grandparents/grandchildren. You see it on commercials all the time, and you certainly have heard people talk about it.

These are also very valuable options because they don't require a desktop computer. For some grandparents, any sort of computer is "just too much" for them to want to learn how to use it. A fair compromise would be a smart phone with these functions installed for a few reasons. First, a phone seems to be a much more manageable device due to its size than a desktop computer . Secondly, grandparents may not even know they're basically little computers!

These 3 powerful programs/features have developers that recognize the use among older generations; therefore, the user interfaces (or what you see on the screen) are kept as simple as possible!

3.  Video Games

Yes, I said it. Video Games! No, I'm not kidding.

I'm still not kidding.

Some may think this option to be impossible, but I assure you it is not. Like with almost everything else you could want to do with your grandparents, all it takes is the right approach. With a positive attitude and a warm tone, asking your grandparents to spend time with you will not often be turned down! Sure, not every game is right for every grandparent; so pick your game carefully. Don't give your grandma an Xbox controller to play Gears of War... It's just not going to workout. Although, you never know! Check out this video of a grandpa playing Call of Duty and Halo with his grandson! It made me laugh pretty hard! 


4.  Texting

If you can get your grandparents a phone, you are bound to have some laughs texting!

5.  Social Media

It's not impossible, but there are nowadays more and more grandparents on social media. Many of the mothers and fathers of the millennial generation (grandparents) are already on Facebook, and some children of the Generation Y millenials (grandchildren) are old enough to be on social media. That may be confusing at first, but I assure you it is happening.

However, my grandparents, for example are in the age category that didn't switch over to newer technologies as quickly. They were grandparents long before the internet and computers were popular. This is where my grandparents draw the line, but it is certainly not out of the question! 

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