Grandparenting via Social Media

Most grandparents want to play an active role in their grandchildren’s lives. In the past, that could be very difficult for extended families living miles apart from each other. Nowadays, though, we are lucky to have access to social media technologies that can bridge long distances and bring families together when they’re spread out across the country or across the globe. Even families living close to each other often use social media to build and maintain connections between generations.

Thanks to social media technologies, distance has become less of an obstacle for grandparents who want to be involved in their grandchildren’s lives. Social media technologies – like texting, video chatting, and photo sharing – make it possible for grandparents and grandchildren to stay connected no matter where they live. Some grandparents have found that using social media allows them to experience a much stronger bond with their grandchildren than they experienced with their own grandparents decades ago.

Some grandparents who haven’t yet jumped aboard the social media train may be a bit intimidated by what may seem like totally foreign technologies. It’s certainly understandable that those of us who grew up without computers and made calls on rotary phones might find social media a bit mystifying… and even frightening. But it’s important to remember that our grandchildren are living in a completely different world than the one we grew up in. Many of the kids of today are far more comfortable communicating via social media than doing so by phone or in person. We can choose to join them in their advancing world or stay isolated from it and perhaps be left behind.

Most tech-savvy grandchildren would be happy to help their not so savvy grandparents learn about and become comfortable with the ins and outs of social media so they can stay in touch via their favorite social media platforms. There are plenty of other ways grandparents can learn about social media as well, including classes and workshops at senior centers or public libraries, local adult education programs, and all those free online videos available via the Internet.

There are loads of interesting and fun ways to communicate via social media. Here are how a few grandparents enjoy staying involved with their grandchildren using social media technology.

Experiences of social media savy grandparents...

“I post a new photo every day with a short description. It might be of my dog or something unusual I found in my backyard. Once, I posted a photo of an animal track in the snow and asked my grandchildren to figure out what made it. We had a good time all trying to figure that one out!”

“I go on Skype to read a story to my grandson almost every night before he goes to bed. He can see me and I can see him. My daughter sets up the laptop and then leaves us to it. She doesn’t go too far away, of course, but it’s just me and Trevor, bonding over the story. It would be nice to be able to hold him on my lap, but… its way better than back in the days before this kind of technology was around.”

“My grandchildren are in high school and college. I know they love me, but there’s no way I could get them to talk with me for very long on the phone. They’re so busy. But they always answer my texts and they text me updates on their lives every few days without any prodding. Of course, just an ‘I love you’ from one of them makes my day. I send them plenty, that’s for sure. They also send me SnapChat photos that always make me smile.”

“I know more about what my grandchildren are thinking and feeling than I ever would have before social media. They’re much more open with me than they would be in person or even talking over the phone. Granted, they don’t go into a heckova lot of detail, but it’s still great. I feel like I really know them as people. I find out things even their parents don’t know.”

“Our granddaughter is four and we’ve only been able to be with her in person a handful of times because we live so far apart. But she knows her ‘Nana’ and ‘Grampy.’ She knows our faces and our voices. We video chat with her. She dances for us and we clap. We tell stories. We help tuck her in at night. She even puckers up and gives the screen a kiss to say ‘goodbye’ to us. And we do the same. It’s really pretty amazing… and wonderful.”

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