Skype-sitting Nana

Last night I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. Of course one of the first things I asked her was “How is your new granddaughter?” She was delighted to give me a report on her eight month old granddaughter and informed me that one of her other daughters is expecting a baby very soon.

“The only thing wrong with being a nana,” she said, “is that my granddaughter is in California and I’m in Kentucky!”

We talked a little more and she told me that from time to time she “Skype-sits” her granddaughter.

“How does that work?” I asked.

“My daughter sits the computer on a table near the baby, where she can see me and I entertain her while my daughter does housework or something nearby.  Of course my granddaughter can’t talk to me yet so it’s pretty intense on my part. I sing, talk, and do anything I can think of to keep her attention. I can usually last 30 minutes. I wonder sometimes if she’ll grow up thinking Nana lives in a box!”

I’d never heard of  “Skype -sitting” your grandchild but it really doesn’t surprise me. My grandmother never touched a computer but today’s grandparent can not only use a computer, they are very adept at social networking.

New research from AARP finds that social networking is more important than ever to older Americans—more than a quarter (27%) of Americans age 50+ use social media websites, with Facebook being the most popular, followed by MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Other Interesting Survey Findings

*         Forty-nine percent of those 50 to 64, and 40 percent of all adults 50+, consider themselves extremely or very comfortable using the Internet.

*         Facebook is the most popular social networking site for Americans 50+, with 23 percent of survey participants reporting they prefer it—followed by MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, all at about 4 percent.

*         Forty-seven percent of adults 50+ originally heard about social networking from a family member other than their spouse, and of those, 70 percent heard about it from a child or grandchild.

*         Among adults 50+ who use social media websites, three-quarters (73 percent) are connected to relatives other than children and grandchildren, three-fifths are connected to their children (62 percent), and one-third (36 percent) are connected to grandchildren.

So how about it readers? How do you use technology to keep in touch with your children or grandchildren?

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