GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018 - 29

legacy
what devices they like to use, such as a laptop, cell phone or other
device; what apps they use, such as Snapchat or Instagram's DM
(Direct Messaging), and where they like to use digital media-in
the basement? Their bedroom? The result would be culled into a
two-minute video to share with their grandparents.

"

As much as grandparents need
to learn to connect by technology,
kids need to learn how to connect
in real life.

I see it as a class

"

Eight to ten grandparents and grandchildren would meet
together to launch the program. Grandchildren would get instructions to make their video. Grandparents would get together to
watch the videos and discuss their reactions and pick some applications they would like to learn. Grandparents and grandchildren
would reconvene for grandchildren to teach their grandparents
the applications they have chosen.
Before launching a program, however, I wondered. Is it worth
it? Will it work?

Research says...

So, I went back to the source of my inspiration, Dr. Lauricella
at Northwestern. She was really excited about the idea, fueled
by her own experience of watching her four children and her
parents.
She also acknowledged the multitude of studies documenting
the growing anxiety and depression with adolescents.
As much as grandparent's need to learn to connect by technology, kids need to learn how to connect in real life. Within a day,
Alexis saw the power of this idea and wrote a rough draft for a
research project. The two essential questions are:
29 GRAND

SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2018

RQ1. Could a "technology tourist" program for grandparents
and grandchild support grandparent mental health, physical
health, social connections, and relationship development with
grandchildren and family?
RQ2. Could a "technology tourist" program increase young
adolescents' comfort in live social interaction situations, provide
social and emotional support, decrease levels of stress, anxiety,
and depressive symptoms?
I'm scheduled to reconnect with Alexis in the fall to talk about
designing a research project. (And we'll be looking for funding, if
you know anyone.)

The power of technology to
connect

While we wait for the research, I continue to ask grandparents
what they think. I have heard from grandparents who don't want
to be connected, and, honestly, I don't understand them. I also
hear laments from those who are getting more and more isolated
because they not connected.
Steve and Diane Brogan, both in their early 70's, were faced
with moving across country because of health issues. But they
couldn't accept being separated from their grandchildren, particularly with one who is on the autism spectrum. Technology has
allowed them to connect with their
adult children and grandchildren daily, and to be
a part of their every-day
world.
"One grandchild makes
YouTube videos, and we
watch most of them.
He's on Twitter, too. Our
older granddaughter is
on Instagram. We follow
whatever they do," says
Diane, who points out you

may find you really like it. She and husband Steve have been
active Pokemon Go players for two years. Even though the
grandson who introduced them to it lost interest after two
weeks.
"I would hope that every grandparent would make the effort
to do Messaging, Facetime, Instagram, or some kind of communication with electronics. Otherwise they are missing out. One of
the greatest joys of the whole thing is we know we are accepted
by our grandchildren," adds Diane.

Technology is here to stay

The bottom line is that technology is here to stay forever, and
it's always changing. I talked to my grandson Ethan, who is now
father to my two-year-old grandson. He talked about what reading looks like with his son. They want him to hold books, too, but
they also read digital books. Just like the levers and pulleys of
the beloved pop-up books, their son can touch the screen and
delight in a pop-up giraffe.
What will my great grandson's technological world be like?
I can't even imagine. But I know I'm going to try. How about
you? You in? How about we try together and share what we
learn?

Jerry Witkovsky, author of
The Grandest Love is a longtime social work professional,
grandparenting activist, and
passionate grandpa. Jerry
offers fresh approaches to
help grandparents enter
their grandchild's world, to leave values, not just
valuables and create a living legacy. Jerry created the
Grandparent-Grandchild Connection School Program
and curricula with Deanna Shoss, President & CEO of
Intercultural Talk, Inc., in 2016, to work with schools as
the platform to teach grandparents and grandchildren
how to enter each other's world. Learn more here


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GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018

Contents
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