Look Out, The Digital Grandmothers Are Coming

Currently, there is a whole wave of digitally savvy moms who are also grandmothers or will likely become grandmothers over the next decade. Right now there are about 32 million moms online using social media for regular communications. Our children are growing up digital. And those very same moms will bring in a new era of grandparenting -- and we certainly won’t be anything like our grandmothers. Even my own 82-year-old mother uses an iPad. We will have the ability to redefine what being a grandparent means. 

“With the structure or definition of a family changing, more grandparents are raising grandchildren; thus, they must be plugged in in order to connect with changing society. The positive would be that this allows intergenerational relationships to strengthen and thrive even when there is great physical distance,” said Myrdin Thompson, Regional Director for the National Family Engagement Alliance. 

Currently, there are about 70 million grandparents in the U.S. And, if you doubt grandparents are online, look at the stats below.

According to grandparents.com:

• 92% are online at least once a day
• 83% research online
• 70% make purchases online
• 67% regularly shop online
• 99% share things from the internet with friends and family
• 97% listed email as their top online activity, but they also use Facebook Skype and Instagram

And a recent survey by AARP confirms the ever-increasing use of technology for communicating with grandchildren.

So what could the coming wave of digital grandmother look like?

• Today’s networked moms are on Facebook, and they will continue to be. Facebook is the place to keep the family connected no matter the geography simply for its ease of sharing video and photos. 

• Digital storytelling will give grandmothers a place to create the family history and hand down memories. Moms who are blogging today will continue to blog, but they will shift to memorializing the family heritage and history for generations to come.

• Digital scrapbooking will grow. Today’s moms are more technologically savvy. Retirement will give moms the time to create scrapbooks. Look for a bevy of Pinterest-ing grandmothers. 

• Video Skype will become more popular and break down distance barriers. Not every grandmother is geographically convenient to pop over for a visit. And the ability to see the grandchildren will be motivating. 

• Gaming: one of the things grandparents like to do is play games with grandchildren. There is no reason a grandparent be geographically challenged when online games allow virtual play any time, anywhere.

• Grandparents on Pinterest sharing not only milestone moments, but also future aspirations/dreams: the planning of the granddaughter's wedding, or graduation parties.

Tags: digital, moms
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3 comments about "Look Out, The Digital Grandmothers Are Coming ".
  1. Hank Stewart from Green Team , November 2, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.
    Good piece. However one of your statistics stopped me in my tracks: 89% of grandparents are female. 89%!? Can that be true? I went to grandparents.com for confirmation, and learned that 89% of the visitors to grandparents.com are female. Whew! For purely selfish reasons, I'm hoping the number for the general grandparent population is significantly smaller. You scared me, Holly!
  2. Jackie Bird from Redbean Society, LLC , November 2, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
    I love it! It is so true, this woman is in her 50's or early 60's and fortunately, she's been leading the milestones of women's evolution in the last so many years. Great insights.
  3. Anne Peterson from Idaho Public Televsion , November 2, 2012 at 2:13 p.m.
    The digital grandparents are here! And have been for some time. Consider that genealogists as a group have been online as soon as they could move bulletin boards, etc. onto the Web -- before 2000. In my own case, I have been online since approximately 1996-97, when it became available to me.