Critter Corner: Connecting with Our Grandkids in the Digital Age

Dear Magic,

Similar to most children these days, our grandchildren are really into their phones, tablets, and computers. My husband and I are reluctant, however, to use Facebook, texting, Skype, and to learn how apps work, because we’ve been fine without them for all this time. Also, we have a hard time using them. Is it common for seniors like us to be reluctant to use social media and apps? How can we learn to use them, so we can connect with our grandchildren?


Khan Necht-Withem

While some seniors may not immediately embrace technology, many of them find it fairly easy once they try it. A recent study conducted by the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking consisted of 591 participants, with an average age of 68 years old. Of those, 77% percent found that technology was not difficult to use. And, 72% said that they were not opposed to learning new technology.

When used in moderation, social media can offer health benefits. That’s because socializing with others – particularly with grandchildren – can ward off boredom and loneliness in seniors. Seniors who use Facebook and other apps appear to be happier with life and less likely to develop depression, high blood pressure, and chronic conditions, such as diabetes.

Programs such as Skype and Facetime are also beneficial for grandparents who live far away, but who still want to keep in touch with grandkids. Being open to technology can help grandparents strengthen the bond with even with their youngest grandchildren.

So, how can you learn to use new technology? One way is to ask your grandchildren, or even your children, how to use it! Computer classes at senior centers are also growing in popularity. Classes on computer basics, as well as instruction in using email and other social media platforms such as Facebook have become more common. also has a whole program called University Without Walls specifically designed for seniors who are homebound where they get to participate in stimulating classes and lectures through their computer or tablet. Local AARP chapters also offer computer basics classes and sometimes partner with vendors for discounts on the hardware. And the Jewish Council for the Aging in Washington, D.C. offers an entire Senior Tech program.

Hop this is helpful,


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.