Holidays with grandchildren: conscious use of smartphones can bring generations closer together

Published: 13 July 2021

More than two-thirds of Hungarian parents rely on grandparents to place their children in summer, and 33 percent entrust their grandchildren to them for at least a full month, according to a national representative survey commissioned by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH). (The 2,229 sample of the research conducted between 22 and 29 June 2021 represents the Hungarian population aged 18 and over by gender, age, education and type of municipality.) Nearly a third of respondents show that older generations lag behind younger ones in digital maturity, which can lead to both conflict and isolation. The infocommunications authority therefore provides tips to help grandparents quickly learn how to use smart devices.

During the holidays, many parents rely on the help of older relatives: 17 percent of those surveyed by NMHH let their children spend from a month to a month and a half, and 16 percent even the entire summer with their grandparents. However, the digital divide between the generations during vacations can cause problems, tension or isolation for many. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents face some problems due to the fact that grandparents are not familiar with how to use smart devices and are not able to relate to the children’s experiences in the digital space.

Yet smart devices can significantly improve the quality of life and, when used consciously, make the time spent together more meaningful. 39 percent of parents say seniors pick up the slack quickly and handle smartphones skilfully, all they need is a little support and encouragement. NMHH’s tips can help you catch up digitally and open new doors for generations towards each other.

5 tips for grandparents to make their time with grandchildren more meaningful with digitisation

Before the start of the holiday, it is important to recognise that for young people, a smartphone has become almost a necessity. For them, the digital world is also intertwined with communication, learning, gaming and entertainment. Therefore, it is not worth banning the use of smart devices, rather it is worth taking a positive approach to the topic. Let’s ask questions, learn and find a balance between offline and online programmes together.

  1. Let’s play together! Look for simple multiplayer games that will interest both age groups. If you have no idea, search the free offerings of application web stores, or be brave and get into what your grandson is playing with.
  2. Organise joint leisure programmes! Do you want to take the grandchildren to a swimming pool or go on a trip to see the city? Ask them to show you useful apps to make the day more enjoyable. For example, you can use plant or bird identification apps, “treasure hunt” geocaching hiking maps or restaurant and programme recommendations. In this way, children are also involved in the organisation of the programme, while we can also learn, develop and have richer experiences.
  3. Let’s have a movie night! If you want a home programme, ask the children to show you how online movie-watching interfaces work. Choose a good series, animation or family comedy together on Netflix or HBO GO and watch a movie together in the living room or even in the garden. If you have subscribed to one of the channels, all you need is a stable wifi or a mobile data subscription with a larger data frame.
  4. Make joint videos and photos! With a smartphone, you can capture the most beautiful moments of your vacation, and by viewing the pictures, you can relive your favourite memories of your grandchildren at any time. And if you decide to share them with others, you should not forget about data security either. Only post photos that the children have agreed to, otherwise you may cause them inconvenience. Also, make sure that the published images and videos do not contain any objectionable or sensitive content.
  5. Stay in touch even after your vacation! Ask your grandchildren to teach you how to use Messenger, Viber or WhatsApp. With these applications, you can send messages, photos and videos to each other, or even make a video call. Thus, even after your vacation, you can still keep in touch, and continue to be present in each other’s everyday lives.

The Netre Fel! [Let’s Go Online!] education website launched by NMHH provides the elderly with additional tips and practical guides for using smart devices.