Susan at grandparents.about.com, has an interesting article today about the little "digital natives" that are our grandkids. It makes me wonder about the grandparents today, and the soon-to-be grandparents of tomorrow. I've got a number of friends who, ten years ago, were definitely not computer users, struggled with e-mail, and could not attach a photo to an e-mail if they had to. The advent of Facebook has brought a lot of them around in that area, but many are still pretty uncomfortable with anything beyond a picture upload or text message.
We actually run a computer networking company, and were extreme early adopters of technology (somewhere there's a video of our now 25-year-old son playing an online game while still in diapers). Now, I'm a Web programmer, and actually have been working in the last couple of years on a Web site specifically created for older users (hunter education instructors). It's fun to explore how to set up a site for users who aren't too comfortable with the Internet in general, and challenging as well. I can guarantee that if it's not user-friendly, they won't use it!
I do think we're going to see lots more technology-savvy grandparents in the next ten years, and they'll start shopping online, reviewing products online, and even communicating online lots more. I really can't imagine a technology better suited to grandkids and their grandparents right now than Skype, and I would expect to see more easy-to-use communication tools like this for grandparents springing up in the next decade.
One of the reasons I created supergrandkids.com was to provide some grandparent-specific reviews for online purchasing. I love to read reviews of products before I buy them, but as a grandparent, I'm looking for different info than a parent. I hope to provide more of these reviews as time goes along, and will be asking grandparent friends to help out with some reviews as well.
I think the online future for grandparents is only going to grow, and I'd encourage everyone to push themselves a bit in their knowledge level, or just give something new a try. Might even help the old brain cells to stay active a while longer!