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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Grandma’s on Instagram!

Sep 03, 2019 12:33PM
By Christina Katz

Everyone wants to give Nanna and Pops some love on Grandparents Day, September 9. But what about staying in touch throughout the year? When the older generation lives far away, connecting can be challenging. But technology can make it easier. New software with the potential to help families communicate is launched all the time. Don’t let elders frown at the idea of going online. Persuade them to participate. Once they see how easy these five options are, they will jump on the tech train in no time.

Share Pinterest Board Stories. Grandparents who love to tell stories can use Pinterest images to communicate era, location, and mood. So when Grandpa creates a board called “My Childhood on the Red River,” you can bet he is going to have his grandkids’ rapt attention. Other ideas for boards include posting images of the products, toys, travel destinations, and homes that were once part of the grandparents’ lives. Kids can join in the fun and share their stories in images, too.

Post a Photo a Day to Instagram. Instagram is also great for visual storytelling. And it’s so easy to use that even a centenarian can find her or his way around it. Privacy settings and follower screening are built right into the platform, too. Posting a photo a day allows grandparents and kids to share the little moments that create their larger life stories. Maybe it’s a shot of the cinnamon-sugar toast they always eat for breakfast. Maybe it’s photos documenting the ongoing saga of the family cat or dog. No matter what they choose to post, their images are bound to bring them closer.

Create a Family YouTube Page. Or let your tween or teen create his or her own. The nice thing about YouTube is that it allows you to post videos to the Internet so that they can easily be shared with far-away family. And if you don’t want the world at large to view your videos, simply set them as “unlisted” when you post them. This way only family members with direct links you send via e-mail or messaging can access your videos. Don’t let grandparents miss another graduation or recital. YouTube it!

Run an Etsy Shop Together. Does the kids’ abuela knit more baby blankets than she can give away? Or maybe she has some antiques she is ready to part with? Maybe she’s taking an art class or writing her memoir. If your tweens or teens have a knack for design or sales, why not let them collaborate with their grandparents to create an Etsy shop? Etsy makes it easy to sell products online. Does it really matter if the entrepreneurial duo racks up a huge number of sales? Of course not. What matters is that they have fun creating something together.

Schedule a Monthly Facetime Session. One of the best ways for grandkids and grandparents to stay connected is via the video-chatting program Facetime. Kids love Facetime because it’s convenient, instantaneous, and visual. And grandparents like it because they can see their grandchildren growing up before their eyes. Facetime does not cost anything beyond a Wi-Fi connection. So let the conversations go on as long as they like. Facetime is only available on Mac products, so for non-Mac users try Skype. It’s also free and easy to use.

Thumbs Down: Tech with Less Elder-Appeal
Texting: Too hard to read and too disruptive. No thanks.

Too public. And what the heck is a tweet?

Too fast. Why do the images disappear so quickly?

Oy vey. Too overwhelming and distracting.
Vine: Too annoying. Why does the video clip keep playing over and over?

Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz believes that the positive powers of technology far outweigh the downsides.