In the News

- February 6th, 2012

 

This week, Microsoft and the AARP share new statistics demonstrating how seniors and youth are increasingly adopting technology to connect their generations.


From Phone time to Face time—No Disconnect Here!

New technologies bridge the generation gap to promote closer bonds

The internet provides unprecedented opportunities for extended families and generations to stay in close contact even when geographically separated. Creating and maintaining a bond with grandparents or other seniors benefits youth in several ways.

Seniors can be great role models, teachers and influences. They can provide a sense of cultural heritage and family history. They frequently have more time than busy single, or two career parents to spend interacting with a child. And, because they aren’t the parents, they are often better at helping troubled teens.

Similarly, grandparents and other seniors reap real benefits from interacting with their grandchildren or other youth. These benefits include staying more active and engaged, and an ongoing sense of value and purpose.

According to a new study released by Microsoft and AARP, “Connecting Generations,” researchers found that teens actually communicate more with their parents and grandparents, and vice-versa, due to the use of social media tools. This lesson discusses how to expand cross-generational opportunities and engage even more students in richly rewarding multi-generational connections.

 

Lesson

A new study by Microsoft and the AARP that found:

  • 83% of parents, grandparents and teens consider going online to be helpful forms of communication

  • 30% of grandparents and 29% of teens say connecting online helps them better understand each other

  • 40% of teens help their grandparents go online

  • 25% of teens communicate with their grandparents several times each week through social media

  • 70% of teens say the computer increases the quantity of their communication with family members living far away, and 67% say it increases the quality of those communications

Those are some pretty impressive statistics, and it illustrates how the internet can help maintain relationships even when distance separates families and friends.

Downloads & Resources

Lesson Plan Connecting Technology Across Generations
Lesson Presentation Companion Presentation
  Lesson

Professional Development

This lesson looks at ways to encourage cross generational interactions online. To further encourage these interactions, look at ways to bring seniors into your classroom via technology. It could be asking students to discover areas of expertise their grandparents or other seniors have and then using a webcam to ‘bring’ that grandparent in to share, starting a writing project with students and grandparents through a social media tool or email, etc. Identify the resources your school has to make these connections, and incorporate the connections into your lessons.

  Professional Development

Parent Tips

You already know the critical role grandparents and other seniors in your children’s lives can play, as well as the value your children provide in the lives of grandparents and other care providers.

In class this week, your student learned how technology can enhance their relationships with grandparents and other seniors, whether they live with or near them, or live far away. The lesson began by looking at new research data from Microsoft and the AARP that found:

  • 83% of parents, grandparents and teens consider going online to be helpful forms of communication

  • 30% of grandparents and 29% of teens say connecting online helps them better understand each other

  • 40% of teens help their grandparents go online

  • 25% of teens communicate with their grandparents several times each week through social media

  • 70% of teens say the computer increases the quantity of their communication with family members living far away, and 67% say it increases the quality of those communications

As parents, you play a critical role in facilitating the contact between your child and their grandparents or other family members. In class we looked at a variety of ways for students to use the internet to connect with grandparents and other seniors including: texting, chatting, video chatting, emailing, digital calling, reading stories, sharing their screens, sharing photos, social networking, sharing hobbies, and helping establish safety and privacy settings.

Based on the age of your child, and the technical sophistication of their grandparents or other seniors in their lives, help your child use online connections to strengthen their bond. It may be grandparents reading books as podcasts for children to hear over and over again, it might be live video chats or story time, or it may be getting grandparents to use mobile texting, Facebook or another social networking site where they can interact with your teen.

    Start a conversation with your child and with their grandparents about what kind of online connections will work best for your family.

  Parent Tips


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