Grandpa Showing Smartphone to Grandson at Home

Tech-Savvy Grandparenting: Connecting With Grandkids

According to a 2021 survey, the adoption of technologies among the oldest age group in the United States has grown since 2012 .

The survey found that 83 percent of adults aged 50 to 64 and 61 percent aged 65+ owned a smartphone.

These figures are significant increases within a decade. The number of adults using social media and owning tablet computers has also grown.

Although technology adoption and social media use among older adults have increased, this doesn’t mean all grandparents are tech-savvy enough to use them to connect with their grandkids.

Some even don’t use technology because of the following barriers:

  • Cost
  • Availability
  • Poor internet connection
  • Knowledge gap
  • Lack of trust
  • Dislike of technology

So, how can you stay abreast of the digital world to connect and build relationships with your grandchildren?

Grandpa Showing Smartphone to Grandson at Home

Learn How To Use Digital Devices

Navigating the digital world begins by learning how to use digital devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

Some essential skills include managing privacy settings, connecting to Wi-Fi networks, basic troubleshooting, and downloading apps.

Your local community center may offer courses designed for older adults to provide a supportive environment for learning these skills. You can also watch online tutorials for step-by-step guidance.

Or you can ask your children and grandchildren for help. They can help you understand how to use digital devices while fostering connections and shared learning, strengthening your family bond.

Embrace the Paperless Transition

The paperless transition provides a significant convenience.

For instance, setting up an email account lets you receive bills, bank statements, and newsletters directly in your smartphone’s inbox, minimizing the need for physical copies.

Digital tools like calendars and reminder apps can also help manage appointments and record important dates, ensuring you’re always informed about your commitments.

Moreover, leveraging tools that convert online documents from one format to another, such as converting Word documents into PDF files and vice versa, is helpful. These tools are useful for editing or filling out electronic forms.

If your grandchildren struggle in these aspects, you can instantly share your knowledge and demonstrate how to organize their online documents.

You can guide them toward managing their digital responsibilities, nurturing a supportive relationship and creating an environment with mutual learning.

Digitally Connect With Your Loved Ones

Digital devices and platforms provide various ways to nurture relationships with your children, friends, and grandkids, wherever they are. Examples include voicemails, video calls, and instant messaging.

These tools will help you facilitate real-time interactions despite distances, regular conversations, and virtual participation in family events and milestones.

For example, knowing how to make a voicemail lets you leave thoughtful messages your grandkids can listen to at their convenience. Video calls let you see each other’s smiles.

At the same time, instant messaging enables sharing photos, quick updates, and jokes throughout the day.

Engaging with loved ones on social media also offers a glimpse into your grandchildren’s daily activities and special occasions.

You can celebrate their achievements by commenting on the posts and staying updated on their hobbies and interests.

Use Digital Libraries

Digital libraries provide more access to various online books, magazines, and newspapers.

This accessibility lets you read your favorite e-books or discover new audiobooks in the comfort of your home or while on the move.

Using digital library cards, you can borrow from an extensive catalog and explore library websites or reading apps.

Many brands provide e-readers like Kindle with paper-like features and customizable functions, e.g., font size and background color adjustments, to enhance the reading experience and reduce eye strain.

With a digital library, you can give your grandchildren access to books and other resources they might need for their studies. You can also use it to read bedtime stories.

Whatever device you use, remember to set a screen time limit, take regular breaks, and enable the blue light filters to prevent eye strain.

Study How To Manage Your Finances Digitally

Online shopping and financial management are significant advancements in how we approach finances and shopping transactions.

Managing bank accounts, settling bills, buying and selling, and executing money transfers via the Internet offer convenience and efficiency.

However, splurges can happen when shopping online because of discounts and other perks. It’s essential to learn how to handle your finances digitally.

Start by setting a budget for online purchases and monitoring your expenses through a spreadsheet or a budgeting app.

Regularly review your online bank statements, curb unnecessary spending patterns, and leverage your bank’s digital financial management tools, such as automatic transfers or payments and unusual activity alerts.

Teach these financial management steps by explaining the importance of budgeting and helping your grandchildren create simple spreadsheets or setting up a budgeting app.

Demonstrate how to recognize and avoid unnecessary purchases and highlight the importance of digital alerts. This way, you can help your grandkids develop confidence in making wise financial decisions.

Know How To Protect Yourself Online

Online safety is paramount when using digital devices. You must know how to create strong passwords, recognize scams, update operating systems, and install reputable security software on all devices.

  • Strong passwords: At least eight characters combining numbers, symbols, and uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Recognizing scams: Recognize scams like phishing emails that mimic companies to perform identity theft
  • Updating operating systems: Enable automatic updates that involve bug fixes and security patches to address security loopholes in your devices
  • Reputable security software: Antivirus apps that detect and delete viruses before they can infect your devices

For added assurance, you can discuss online safety practices with your family for further guidance. They can offer advice on security setups, explain more scams to be aware of, and help check your devices’ security software.

Then, share these safety precautions with your grandchildren. Emphasize the significance of protecting their identities and online activities so they can establish mindful and secure digital habits.

Engage in Digital Hobbies

The Internet provides various learning resources. Whether mastering a musical instrument, learning a new language, or exploring new hobbies, it can offer tutorials for every endeavor.

You can participate in social media groups or online forum discussions to connect with like-minded people.

Many educational institutions and organizations even offer free or low-cost courses for all ages, making pursuing new skills or hobbies possible in the comfort of your home.

Engaging in these digital hobbies helps foster your connection with your grandkids. You can explore their interests by joining them in online courses or games, creating projects, or sharing tutorials.

Not only does this encourage your grandchildren’s curiosity, but it also ensures mutual learning and quality time.

Bridge the Generational Gap With Technology

Technology can help bridge the generational gap between you and your grandchildren.

The learning curve may seem daunting, but it can strengthen your bond. From sharing hobbies to learning new skills, these interactions help foster mutual understanding and create treasured memories.

Therefore, you can enrich your grandparenting journey by cultivating a supportive relationship.