The Gift for Grandparents That Keeps on Giving

A checklist for building a better understanding of technology
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Photo courtesy of Monkey Business Images/

Do you know a grandparent who is often frustrated with technology? Perhaps he or she doesn’t know how to navigate smartphone settings, or wants to be able to better organize computer files. When our team at The Social Institute was giving a presentation this year to parents and grandparents, the grandparents were the ones who stayed after to talk about how technology is one of their biggest frustrations. They told us they wish they could simply sit down with an expert who could show them the ins and outs. 

This holiday, consider encouraging your children to give their grandparent(s) a treasured gift that will keep on giving — the gift of understanding technology. After all, who better to give this priceless present than the people who seem to know the most about technology: kids and teens.

The Social Institute team created this holiday checklist of 12 tips for grandkids who want to help their grandparents develop a better understanding of technology. Share this list with your kids, then encourage them to give their grandparent(s) one of these gifts each day for 12 days — or one each month during 2019.


Show your grandparent(s) how to:

1. Set up a group text they can use to stay in touch with family members.

2. Walk them through the privacy settings on their cellphone or smartphone. 

3. Walk them through their privacy settings on Facebook.

4. Create their list of “favorite” phone contacts, so loved ones and close friends are only a click away.

5. Show them how to activate “Do Not Disturb” and “Do Not Disturb While Driving” while still allowing “favorites” to contact them.

6. Show them how to edit a photograph by cropping it or adjusting the color. 

7. Organize their photos by creating albums in the Apple, Windows or Google photo libraries.

8. Ask them about a challenge they have each week (setting reminders for grandkids’ events, finding TV shows, organizing medications, etc.), then research the App Store or Google Play Store to see if there is an app they can download to help solve their challenge.

9. Create an Instagram or Facebook account for your grandparent, then help him or her upload photos to the account(s). 

10. Download FaceTime or Skype, then demo how to video chat.

11. Create a photo book on a website like Shutterfly or Snapfish, then offer to buy the book for your grandparent using your allowance. 

12. Show your grandparent(s) (and parents) how you use social media in a positive way — by playing to your core strengths and posting photos that represent your character; by not posting embarrassing photos of friends or family; and by protecting your privacy as though you’re famous. 


Laura Tierney, a digital native who got her first phone at age 13, is founder and president of The Social Institute, which offers students positive ways to handle one of the biggest drivers of their social development: social media. She also recently became a mom. Learn more at

Categories: Grandparents, Lifestyle, Seasonal Fun, Technology