My father was a gadget guy. Long before smart phones were an option, I remember him having the first pager, the latest and greatest DVD player or stereo, and even a laptop computer. He was 100 years old when he died and his room was FULL of cool electronics. My kids thought he was the coolest guy around! 

Staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic can make it challenging to stay in touch with loved ones, especially the younger generations who rely on texting and social media to communicate. From experience, we know that while we enjoy talking on the phone, our teenage granddaughters prefer to video chat! 

With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to use this extra time we have at home during the upcoming weeks to conduct an experiment. We are going connect with our grandkids on their preferred platforms instead of ours! 

We’ve listed some of the social media apps popular with our granddaughters below. We’ve tried a few and feel the need to warn you that what comes easily to the kids doesn’t always seem as obvious to us. But, when we encountered technical difficulties, the kids got on the phone and walked us through it. Honestly, it was fun for them to be the experts for a change! 

Why don’t you join us? Let’s all try it! Who knows…maybe we will all become the coolest grandparents ever! 

Texting

If you are not already texting your grandkids, we highly recommend it! We hear from our grandkids several times a week via text. We even have a “Family Chat” that we created with our entire immediate family. We all use this group chat to share news and pictures with each other regularly. It is a fun and easy way for the kids to keep in touch with us on a platform they are comfortable using every day.

Bitmoji

If texting is new to you and you aren’t up for trying a new social media app, you can set up a Bitmoji. A bitmoji is a digital sticker you design to look like you. Then you can select stickers with your image that have different messages on them such as “Good Luck” or “Congratulations” or “Happy Birthday.” This is a fun way to add something to your texts without having to learn about a new app altogether. My 12 year old granddaughter helped me set up my Bitmoji and taught me how to add it to my text messages. 

Video Chat

If you and your grandkids have iPhones, Facetime is the easiest way to video chat with them. You can call them and just switch the call to a FaceTime call. If all of you do not use IPhones, the best app to use to video chat is Skype. Just like other apps, you can download the app to your Smartphone, create an account, and off you go! 

Instagram

You may already have a Facebook page. Unfortunately, the younger generations do not use Facebook. They see it as an antiquated and old social media app. The good news is, Instagram works almost in the same way as Facebook. Simply download the app and create a private account. Then, search for your family member or friends and “follow” them. This is the same as being friends on Facebook. You will see anything they post in your news feed. Similarly, they will “follow” you back. Then, anything you post will be seen by them in their news feed.

Instagram also offers video chat and private messaging (Direct Message or DM) options.This is the same as Facebook Messenger.  For some reason, kids prefer to DM within the Instagram app instead of texting directly. If you want to be extra cool, try it! 

Snapchat

Snap chat offers a way to send pictures and short videos immediately to an individual or group of recipients. Again, you create a private account and “friend” your family members or friends on the app. Then, you snap a selfie or quick video and send it to them. The app offers options to add text, stickers, and filters to your pictures. Kids LOVE to snapchat. They like sharing selfies and quick comments on video even more than they like texting!

TikTok

You may have heard of TikTok. This is a social media app where people share short videos, often with music, dance moves or comments on the screen. You can share videos with friends and to the wider community. When we suggested that Grandpa try using TikTok, our granddaughters were all in, claiming that he might go “viral” if he did a dance video! What a fun way to interact and share an interest with your grandkids on a platform they use every day! 

We know this is a long list – so just try one to start and see how it goes! If you need help getting started, we’ve posted some “Getting Started on Social Media” Tips on The Pogue Press tab on our website at www.TeamPogue.com. Please share how it goes with us on our Facebook (www.facebook.com/Team Pogue) or Instagram (@teampogue). We’d love to hear from you! 

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