NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

January 25, 2013

Grandparents adapting to new ways to communicate with grandkids

Grandparents adapting to new ways to communicate

Grandparents may turn up their noses at text messaging as a way to communicate with their tech-savvy grandchildren. They want to hear the kids’ voices, and they can use the phone to talk — not type. But is that realistic in today’s world? And are they at risk of missing out on a relationship with the youngsters they love?

“It’s natural for grandparents to want as much personal interaction with their grandchildren as possible. Many grandparents feel like texting is so impersonal and detached (and) really do get a great deal of happiness from hearing their grandchildren’s voices,” said Amy Goyer, AARP’s home and family expert. “There is nothing wrong with trying to balance phone calls and in-person time with texting or emailing, but as grandchildren grow up, grandparents may have to adjust to their changes and preferences.”

Kids often have hectic lives. And sometimes texting is the best way to keep in touch — whether Granny and Gramps like it or not.

“I’d say they run the risk of losing touch with their grandchildren’s everyday lives if they don’t text,” Goyer added. “That doesn’t mean their whole relationship will fall apart, but they can stay in closer touch if they are willing to text.”

Goyer added that those older than 50 are high adopters of technology, and grandparents are often motivated by their grandchildren to learn how to use new forms of technology — such as texting.

Many grandparents who live miles away from their loved ones have taken to Skype to hear and see their grandkids. With the free software application, a webcam and a high-speed Internet connection, users can talk to and see each other live via the Internet. But many busy teens and 20-somethings say texting is more convenient.

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