A handful of years ago, my grandfather purchased an iPhone for the first time. The jump from a flip phone to a smartphone should not be underestimated. It didn’t matter how many times he read the handheld manual that came with the new phone, I still received a phone call from him at least once a week asking me questions about how to work his new device.
I didn’t mind. In fact, I really enjoyed teaching him new things, rather than the other way around. He was a quick learner, too. Now, he’s pretty fluent with technology, and I’m glad he is. Our frequency and quality of communication has completely changed. He writes loving comments on my Facebook posts, texts me when it’s a full moon outside, and Facetimes me when he’s babysitting my cousin’s baby. He’s more involved in the nuances in my life, as I am with his.
For some, the digital age has created a barrier for older generations to connect with their family.
It seems younger generations only speak Technology, an unfamiliar language to some. The reality is, though, technology is only becoming increasingly engrained in our society and way of life. Why not learn the language?
People who have some experience understand the numerous benefits of adopting the latest technology, even at the most basic level. Although learning something seemingly foreign sounds daunting, it’s difficult to pass up the valuable interactions that can be developed with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.
Below are a few features of technology that can boost your interaction with your young blooming resource. All of these features can be accessed on smartphones, computers, and tablets.
Sure, phone calls are a great way to catch up with people, especially people who don’t live close by. But, what happens when you want to see your 1-year-old granddaughter who lives across the country? She can’t really speak yet, but you’d love to watch her play with her toys! Or your youngest grandson who is moving into his freshman dorm at your alma mater? You’re curious how the dorms have changed and how he sets up his room. Or your daughter who is remodeling her vacation home? It’d sure be nice to periodically tour the house as the reconstruction progresses!
Video chatting changes the game. Not only can you talk to people and hear their tone of voice, but you can also see facial expressions, movements, and surroundings. Video chats enhance conversations and expand the potential instances for calls. FaceTime and Skype are a couple popular options.
Social media has a lot of flexibility. You can be as involved as you would like. The benefit of having a social media profile, such as Facebook, is staying connected with people you care about. For younger generations, they share their lives through social media with pictures, videos, statuses, articles, etc. Just having an account and scrolling through your feed will keep you up-to-date with their lives. I guarantee it is the fastest way to see your granddaughter’s prom pictures and hear real-time stories of your baby great-grandson!
If you’re looking to be more engaged, you can like and comment on other’s posts. If you read an online article or see a picture/video you think someone would enjoy, you can tag them in it and they will know you thought of them. Social media is a simple way of staying informed about other’s activities, interests, and thoughts. If you choose, you can help others staying informed about yours, too! You are always in charge of how much or how often you choose to participate.
The group chat feature requires less effort than the others mentioned and is perhaps the most inclusive of people. Think about the dinner table at a family Thanksgiving meal. Everyone is talking to everyone, contributing to the conversation as a whole. A group chat is the same concept, except through text messages.
Instead of being in an individual text conversation with someone, a group message allows more than two people to be part of the chat. You can text your whole family, or parts of it, at once, and they will respond and further develop the conversation. When you send a message in a group chat, everyone in the chat can see your response, just as you can also view everyone else’s replies.
In the group chat, you can plan gatherings, announce news, tell stories, send pictures, etc. You can even initiate a group chat with a simple “How’s everyone doing today?” A family group chat can create a space in which everyone frequently communicates with each other.
Whichever your taste or style, there are many types of digital communication to choose from. Learning a new technology is no more difficult than learning to walk as a toddler or learning to drive as a teenager. Every meaningful journey in life always begins with a first step.
We want to help you take your first steps with technology, so don’t hesitate to “Ask a Pup!” with any questions.
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