My kid wants to remove Grandma from his Facebook friend list because she makes embarrassing comments on his feed. Now what?
According to a recent study by Microsoft and AARP, kids are connecting with grandparents in unprecedented (and sometimes slightly embarrassing) ways thanks to social networks. Fifty percent of seniors are online, and the benefits of cross-generational connections for kids can include a bond with culture and family history. Grandparents benefit too, by staying active, learning technology, and feeling a sense of purpose.
As great as those connections can be, tweens and grands are often navigating uncharted territory together. Young teens are learning how to handle social situations and behaviors. Grandparents are learning about pop culture and tech lingo.
While technology can provide a wonderful opportunity to connect, it can also be a source of frustration and anxiety for both parties. Parents can help by bridging the gap between generations. Help teens understand how much it means to grandparents to see activities and photos online. On the other end, remind grandparents that teens can easily feel awkward. Connecting between the generations can work by following these basics tips.
Keep comments simple. Tweens and teens get embarrassed easily. A benign comment like “Way to go, super kid!” can be mortifying when seen by their Facebook friends.
Ask before posting photos. Your kid may not appreciate being tagged in a photo where he is politely modeling a handmade sweater from grandma. Grandparents should ask before posting photos of their grandchildren with the understanding that kids will be sensitive to what their peers see online. Provide context. Teens use the Internet to express themselves and share their thoughts on topics they might not normally discuss with grandparents. Help the family remember what they see and read online can be easily misinterpreted.
Try other communication. If problems persist, suggest a weekly email to a grandparent or a conversation over Skype in lieu of a Facebook connection. A regular weekly phone call may be a welcome trade-off for both sides.
Can my daughter email her thank you notes this year?
Most etiquette advice still favors a thank you note, handwritten within two weeks of receiving a gift. It means a lot to recipients for gifts to be acknowledged. But with a wide variety of technology available today, a thoughtful note can come in a variety of fun digital forms.
Thank you electronically. Paperless Post (paperlesspost.com) and Evite (evite.com) offer e-cards that look like a traditional stationery cards, but are emailed to your recipient. Take time to choose a card option that allows your child to write a sentiment or include a photo to add an extra personal touch.
A picture is worth a thousands words — two of which can be thank you. Digital photos can be used in clever ways to let the giver know how much your child loved the gift. Snap a picture of your daughter in the clothes Aunt Jess sent and have her send an email with it.
There’s a thank you app for that. With Thank You Note app, you can create a cute personal note and send it via email or social media. Create a paper thank you postcard using Postography (both apps are free for iPhone and iPad). This app allows you to create a 4 x 6 postcard incorporating clever templates and fonts with your photos. You can purchase credits (15 for $17.99) to send cards, which cost one credit each ($1.29) for U.S. addresses.
TYVM (thank you very much). Though not as personal, a text message can be an effective way for teens to send a note of thanks — especially to peers or a tech-savvy family member.
Say thank you in person. Set up a Skype session and let gift-givers watch your daughter open a gift in real time or have kids call grandpa on your smart phone using FaceTime.
For large or formal events (big birthday parties, first communions, graduations) a hand-written note is a polite response (and one expected by older adults).
Whether appreciation is shown with a crayon drawing by your 3-year-old or a text full of happy emoticons from your teen, a thank you will be warmly received by those who have made an effort to honor your child with a gift.