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Distance grandparenting with webcams

So if you are a baby boomer and want to imagine your long-distance grandparenting experience (assuming it hasn't already begun), here's the scenario. The New York times has a Thanskgiving-appropriate article today about grandparents staying 'close' to their grandchildren through PC-mounted webcams -- using Skype and iChat, along with a link to a blog discussion about Web cams and grandparenting.

Here are the most interesting datapoints in the article, however. "Nearly half of American grandparents live more than 200 miles from at least one of their grandchildren. And another study (U of Southern California) learned that two-thirds of grandchildren see one set of grandparents only a few times per year, if that." 

Webcams are undergoing a 20% growth in video calling because most new laptop purchases include them(IDC). 

 The grandparents mentioned in the article are in their 50's and 60's. Their kids are in their 30s. 

So while everyone was wondering about video-monitoring of elders, how hard is it to imagine that as these grandparents age into their 70's and 80's that the same technology will serve yet another purpose -- keeping in touch with them to see how they're doing?



Grandparents no longer need to be strangers. There are many fun, creative ways to stay in touch between real-time visits. All you need is a web cam, computer, and a mic in each home to share in the special moments that would normally be missed without today's technology. The point made in this post by Laurie Orlov is a good one. By visiting with grandparents via videoconferencing, children and grandchildren are also able to check firsthand on the health of their elders. It is a point that should be taken seriously.

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