Three Technologies to Share with Family Over Thanksgiving

My in-laws live states away but are very interested in being involved and staying connected to our kids. On every visit with the grandparents, my kids will spend time giving an iPhone or iPad tutorial. However, it’s usually been to answer questions, but this Thanksgiving I’m going to make sure we all set up and run through these three applications.

I asked my kids (13 and 18 years of age), who prefer to type over talking on the phone, which technologies they like to use or would use more often with Grandmom and Granddad. Here are their top three:

  1. FaceTime/Skype

My kids have used both and share that it’s really about the video, which they find more personal and engaging. Thankfully, we all have iPhones, so we can easily use FaceTime to make video calls. This is the leading way my daughter stays connected with her friends. We have also used it to talk with our son who is now away at college. It’s so much more personal to see eye-to-eye as we catch up.

GLAM ALERT: Holding the phone down below your chin is very unbecoming … so be forewarned, you may find doing these calls from your iPhone also offers a limited workout for your arms as you try to keep the phone up near your face (and maybe a little higher for a more flattering view to share with kids and grandkids).

If you don’t have FaceTime, you can use Skype. You can use Skype from both smartphone apps and from an internet-connected computer.

  1. SnapchatSnapchat

My son sums up Snapchat as a “better way to send snapshots of what you are doing.” Not only does he find it easier than texting a photo, he showed me how you can easily add words, captions, emojis, and even filters to enhance the image.

I’ve witnessed him take hundreds of selfies and share them with friends. I opened up an account in hopes of making sure I had the opportunity to have him share a few of the good photos with me, especially now that he’s at college.

He’s more apt to respond to Snapchat than return a text.

  1. Words With Friends

wordsWhen we visit the grandparents at their cabin, we are usually huddled around a game of Bananagrams. When we aren’t together, it’s one way my kids can still have fun with Grandmom, who is the gamer in the family.

I hope you will find these suggestions give you some new ways to connect the generations within your own family and shrink the miles that may separate you. Shared. 

NOTE: In a related story that first appeared on Dot Complicated, “Why You Need to Know Your Kids’ Passwords,” I shared that creating a written list might be the only way you would ever be able to access a minor’s online account. What you agree to (usually without reading it) says that no one else has any right to access that account. For this reason, I recommend having your children create a written backup that goes into a sealed envelope I hope you never have a need to open. For free templates to document usernames, passcodes, security questions, and PINs, download a free chapter from the best-selling book MemoryBanc: Your Workbook for Organizing Life at

4 thoughts on “Three Technologies to Share with Family Over Thanksgiving

  1. Love the GLAM ALERT 🙂

    I suddenly realised I’m the oldest generation. I don’t have grandchildren – not sure if I ever will – and so far my son (who is away at university) is fairly communicative. We talk a lot on the phone but maybe I should check if he’d prefer some other form of communication. With his own friends he uses snapchat and instagram and although they no longer post stuff on FB (it’s for old people, apparently; people like his mum), they do use it to private message each other a lot.

  2. Maureen says it’s all anti social media and is even reluctant to use a landline so her three mobiles remain discharged and redundant. I tried scarbble a month or so ago and it’s too much. But you have reminded me to go back to our version of doing crosswords. I read out a clue Maureen answers then it my turn. Have got lazy on this lately: naughty me!

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