[Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post, journalist and mother of a young child, which is what appealed to me when the writer approached me with the wish to share with you.]
With the many useful features SmartPhones now possess, even technophobes, most notably seniors citizens, are now joining the craze with many buying their own mobile devices. In Older Adults and Technology Use, a report presented by the Pew Research Center, it revealed that 77 percent of seniors were willing to adopt the technology so long as someone would help walk through the various processes. Although SmartPhones are sold today as a great tool in tracking health with their built-in sensors, new cellphones are also a great tool in strengthening the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren.
Here are some of the fun activities you can try with your loved ones via SmartPhones even when they live many miles away:
For those grandparents living far away from their grandchildren, mobile devices provide them with a way to connect with their loved ones.
There are SmartPhones that are pre-built with their own propriety video calling services, like iPhones and the FaceTime feature that allows Apple devices to make and receive calls, messages, and files easily. In addition, the iPhone 6 comes with a bigger screen for easy viewing and a clear front facing camera for seamless video calling.
There are also various apps that you can install on your mobile device, whether Android or iOS. Here are some of our top suggestions:
• Skype – One of the most popular apps for video calling, Skype is widely used by more than 700 million people worldwide. It works on almost all platforms – desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even Internet TVs. It even allows the user to make calls to unregistered users for a small fee.
• ooVoo – Free to install, this application is a great for those who will be on a call (voice or video) with more than one person. The ooVoo app (click or tap on ooVoo) allows users the ability to chat with up to 12 people at the same time, and even add your Facebook contact list to your contacts.
• Zoom – For high quality virtual conferencing, Zoom Cloud Meetings is a trusted video conferencing app that allows up to 100 people in a single call. Its best feature is its HD screen sharing where you can view each others display like you are not far from each other. Tap/Click on Zoom to sign up for free.
[Ed. note: You can learn more about how Technology for Seniors uses Zoom in the Zoom Playlist on our YouTube channel. Top photo is one example.]
For a comprehensive list of apps that you can install on your mobile device, click here to view an Apps list by Digital Trends.
Play and have fun
Distant relatives can also maximize mobile devices and make connecting more attainable. Some apps allow you to play games while on a video call, allowing users the capability to enjoy mobile games in real-time – this is an ideal feature for grandparents who want to bond with their grandchildren.
If you are dealing with children ages 2-8, then consider the USTYME app for the iPad as an ideal application for seniors, as it allows you to share books and games while in a real-time video call. It creates a video chat box at the upper-left corner, while you get to play online game. Another app that may interest you is the Kindoma Storytime that allows the grandparent to read virtual storybooks along with their relative while on a video call.
Afternoons can also be filled with creative activities with the help of Drawing Together! Where family members are able to draw on a single digital page while on a live call. You can either draw, paint, or even play usual paper games, such as Tic-Tac-Toe.
How do you think grandparents and grandchildren can maximize their quality time, even when they are miles apart? Share your thoughts and stories with us in the “Reply” section below.
For more tech tips for seniors, bookmark our page.
Top Photo is a Screen Shot of Sheila Finkelstein with her grandson and granddaughter visiting on Mother’s Day.
Insert Photo is Screen Shot of photo of editor on the FaceTime Screen.
Written by AC Techie Sapphire
Exclusive for Technology for Seniors Made Easy