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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Best Tech for Grandparents and Grandchildren

Long-distance grandparents can benefit from innovative solutions to help stay connected to grandchildren.

The pandemic reminded us how much connecting with grandchildren means to us. Technology came to the rescue with both established and novel apps and methods to help us catch a child’s first steps, share photos or read a book together. Long-distance grandparents can use these apps as a means to “see” grandchildren and their parents between visits. 

Easy Computer for Older Adults

Using technology built for youngsters can present daunting obstacles for older users. The Wow computer can be set up in five minutes and offers features for reduced eyesight and arthritic hands. It’s easy to learn for someone with little or no computer experience. Users unfamiliar with a keyboard never have to use one; they can take advantage of Wow’s touch screen with large icons for navigation. 

One touch can enlarge text or navigate to chat, email and a calendar. Programs are updated automatically, so there’s no need to buy more software. Anti-virus tech and malware protection come with the computer at no extra charge. Popular games such as solitaire and mahjong are built into the device. Cost: $1,099.00

Video Conferencing

If you own a smartphone or a computer with a camera, seeing the grandkids while you’re talking to them adds a lot to a “visit.” You can virtually attend a wedding, birth or other event, or watch a child who has just learned to ride a bike pedal down the driveway while flashing a proud smile. 
  • FaceTime. It’s as easy as pushing a button during a phone call, and grandkids love being able to hold the phone and have a personal call with Grandma or Grandpa. They can show you what’s blooming in the garden, take you to a fort or have a heart-to-heart in the privacy of their room. 
  • Skype. Using the Skype app is free. Just set up an account for video chats.

Social Media

Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and TikTok are part of many youngsters’ daily vocabulary and places where they can post photos and videos and share aspects of their lives. Grandparents can comment back or create their own accounts. Find out which one(s) are most used by your grandchild. Use these handy links to tutorials on how to use these social media programs.

Apps for Grandparents

There are a host of apps you have probably never heard of that are fun to use with your grandchildren. Consider adding some of the following for more time with little ones through teenagers. 

  • Keepy. Share drawings and paintings, school projects, photos and more. After all, your fridge can only hold so much!
  • Kindoma. Draw, play or read together.
  • Kodable. For ages 6 and up, learn to code with your grandchild. Don’t worry; there’s a curriculum section where you can study up.
  • Lifecake. Have a family member set up this app to privately share family photos.
  • ooVoo. Along with Rounds and Voxer, this trio of apps allows you to share video and photos while you talk and text. 
  • Photofunia. Get silly and creative with photos by making changes. A mustache for the baby? Giant teeth for a 6-year-old? Ears that fly for the teen? 
  • Redeo. Enjoy reading books together with your grandchildren while you turn the pages online. 
  • Rounds. Like ooVoo and Voxer, this app lets you share photos and videos while you talk and text.
  • Tiny Beans. Along with Lifecake, this app allows you to share family photos privately and profusely.
  • Voxer. Similar to ooVoo and Rounds, you can talk and text in real time while sharing photos and video.
  • Wheel of Fortune. Who needs Vanna and Pat? You can play the popular game with grandchildren by using this app.
  • Words With Friends. Play this word game, similar to Scrabble, by arranging words horizontally and vertically. Enjoy the added benefit of being able to live chat with other players by typing messages as you play.