When I think about how vastly different things were when my grandparents were children as opposed to today’s kids, it’s mind boggling. For example, grams and gramps didn’t even have a television let alone a computer, smartphone or other handheld electronic device. Nowadays, it’s more common to see a child with a cell phone rather than a toy or a book.
Because of this, many children are having trouble connecting with their grandparents and other older relatives. For this reason, we should be encouraging our kids to bond with their elders by using today’s technology. Introducing seniors to electronics isn’t as daunting as one might imagine since many of them are already using computers, are connected to the internet and using social media and other networking sites.
More or Less
According to the AARP, a Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that more than half of all adults aged sixty-five-years of age and older are online and of those, one in three are using social media sites like Facebook. That still leaves a large number of older relatives in the dark, pardon the pun, when it comes to using the internet, smartphones and other electronic devices.
If these older adults aren’t already schooled with things like computers, using the internet, smartphones and other handheld devices, who better to teach them then our kids? After all, another survey found that most American children have a cell phone by the time they are seven-years-old, and many of them are better at using these devices than some of their parents and other older relatives.
If kids only see their relatives during the upcoming holiday season, this would be the perfect time for a lesson using today’s electronic devices. While they are connecting over some screen time today, in the future they can hook up with text messages, photos and social media sites. If your relatives live a great distance from you, encourage them to take a class in computer basics or the use of smartphones. Many senior centers and community colleges offer these kinds of classes at very affordable prices.
Safety and Security
If they do receive some professional instruction on using some of today’s technology, they’ll likely receive some warnings about online safety and security. If not, or if they’re receiving advice from youngsters, you may want to give them some tips on safely surfing and socializing on the internet. What may seem obvious to us, like not sharing personal information online, may be foreign to them.
Sadly, seniors are often picked as the perfect prey for some online predators who feed on their gullibility and trusting nature. Since this topic would be the source of a whole different post, you may want to connect them with an informative article that points out the many dangers that can be found on the world wide web.
After taking a few precautions, the internet is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, especially relatives that may live far away. Technology touches our lives every day and there’s no reason we can’t take advantage of today’s electronics to connect older relatives with their younger family members.