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5 digital ways to stay close to grandparents

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By Christina Vercelletto
From Ideas That Spark
 

When we were kids, we likely spent time getting to know grandma by baking cookies with her. Or we went fishing with grandpa, or played a game of Monopoly after Sunday dinner.

These days, though, extended families are more likely to be spread out, more than an afternoon's drive from each other.

The good news is, today's grands are also more tech-savvy than they were even five years ago. In 2012, 53 percent of American adults over the age of 65 used the Internet and email, according to the Pew Research Center. This is the first time in history that at least half of senior citizens are web fluent.

Those two trends make for the perfect opportunity to try out some of the new sites and apps that grandparents can use to stay close to their grandkids. If your parents live far away, you're probably already using Skype to keep them in the loop on your kids' daily lives. Here's what else is worth a try:


1. Face Juggler

This new app lets you take photos of multiple people, swap the faces, then share the new portraits via email. It sounds silly, but makes for some addictive fun. My 10-year-old neighbor, Christopher Bein, has tried this out: "Grammy Lois said she hasn't laughed so hard in a long time!"


2. Scoot & Doodle

This website is a shareable doodle pad. All you need are Gmail addresses and a mouse. It’s the new drawing-together-at-the-dining-room-table – and the perfect way for grandparents to interact with their grandkids online.


3. Grandparent Games

Set up a free account to connect your parents and your kids face to face to play interactive activities together. There's also a mobile app.


4. Instagram

You and your tween or teen may be using it, yet you probably haven't thought of encouraging your parents or in-laws to join. But why not? It's a social network based solely on photo sharing, something most grandparents love. It's really appealing to seniors who aren’t quite ready for the Facebook scene.


5. Ancestry app

Researching your family tree is more popular than ever with our parents' generation. They, in turn, relish sharing their discoveries with their grandchildren. The Ancestry app lets grandparents and their favorite kids build their family tree together. They can learn the history of previous generations and record their findings at the same time.



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