Grandparents embrace tech to beat FOMO with grandkids

grandparents-on-tech-Image by Benjamin Alexander from Pixabay

In a poll of UK grandparents, over half (53%) revealed that they feel distant from what’s going on in their grandchildren’s lives.

Sadly, this translates into feelings of loneliness, with nearly two fifths (39%) of grandparents confirming they feel lonely due to a lack of connection with family or grandchildren.

The study was carried out by The Pulse Business and directed by BackThen, the private family app for childhood memories.

As one grandparent put it: “Connectivity is one of my strengths and if I don’t regularly do this with my children and their children, I do get sad.”

Another said: “We feel we are missing out on seeing our grandchildren growing up and being with them, as we can only see them in person once or twice a year.”

How silver surf grandparents are combating loneliness

Nearly nine out of ten grandparents are becoming more tech savvy so they can have more time with their families and to fight the pangs of loneliness.

Some 87% of grandparents point to photo and connection apps as having a clear impact on how connected they feel to their family. And 57% point to apps as being key to reducing loneliness.

Moreover, 92% even point to the bond between them and their grandchildren intensifying when they look at a photo, video or story timeline of their lives so far.

The study revealed that grandparents are the main providers of comments on their grandchildren’s photos and videos within the BackThen app, with 42% of grandparents having added 10 or more comments – compared to 33% of parents.

“We like to remember things together,” said one grandparent. “Plus I really like the ability to be able to add photos myself, as do the other grandparents.

“The older boys stay with us during school holidays, several days at a time, so it enables us to share photos of what they’re getting up to, picnics, visits, lunch out etc for their mummy and daddy to see too.”

grandparents-tech-survey-backthen
Source: BackThen

Grandparents want to celebrate children’s joy and mischief

Clearly, digital platforms now perform a key role in helping silver surfers to carry out their role as grandparents – and we can see that those roles are changing too.

Where once grandparents might have seen their role as sharing family heritage and as a stabilising influence, these days most grandparents state that the main thing that they want to do is simply bring joy (31%) or even celebrate moments of mischief and rule-breaking (18%).

As one grandparent said: “He is very small so all of his rule breaking at the moment is funny… this may not be the case in a few years!”

Other grandparents pointed to their role as sharing the family heritage (11%), and others see it as contributing to their emotional development (17%), with one pointing out that they want to help their grandchildren know their real value so that they can go out and play a “constructive and assured place in society”.

Ed Botterill, Founder & Director, BackThen, said: “It’s a strange thing, how the world keeps getting smaller, and yet it gets harder for different generations to see each other.

“Grandparents deserve to see children grow up – and it’s those authentic moments of love that form the milestones of a child’s journey. Not to mention the joy and mischief that they can celebrate together.

“It’s sad that grandparents are feeling increasingly cut off from their families. But while there’s no replacement for real interaction, it’s interesting to see how they are embracing tech to help them to keep in touch, and that it seems to be staving off their feelings of loneliness.

“And sharing photos online is a great way to give families something to talk about on that next all-family video call.”