God's Roadmap

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in his wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in his eyes (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 TPT).

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Digitally Savvy Grandparents

This week, Dr. Mel Tavares shares her insights on how we can interact with grandchildren if distance or restrictions present struggles. I met Dr. Mel through another writing group we both participate in. Please welcome her and check out her website for more great advice. 

by Dr. Mel Tavares


Digitally Savvy Grandparents

“Hey, Grandma! How do you know so much about TikTok and Instagram?” my then twelve-year-old granddaughter asked inquisitively. 

Looking intently at her facial responses, I inquired, “Does it bother you that I know the social spots you hang out in?” 

She laughed a nervous laugh and replied, “No. Why would it? I don’t even use them.” 

After several seconds of silence, I called her by her Instagram handle. She gasped. “How do you know that? I didn’t tell the family!”  

I smiled and said, “I am a digitally savvy grandma and make it my business to know because I love you and want to be able to stay connected.”

The conversation took place just two months before the pandemic hit. As the past eighteen months revealed, the need for grandparents to be digitally savvy increased. As restrictions continue in different geographical locations, digital connections have become a primary means of interacting with the grandkids.

 I have an iPhone, and FaceTime became a daily event between myself and the half a dozen homes where my kids and grandkids live. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to watch them do science projects, view artwork, read books to them, play peek-a-boo, do puppet shows, and chat. I watched them as they opened Christmas and birthday gifts that arrived via the mail. 

One day, I spent an entire afternoon playing Barbie’s with my granddaughter, me using the ones I have here at my house for kids to play with, and her in her bedroom with all of hers. What wonderful memories! Restrictions have lifted, and I get to see them in person, but I still use FaceTime and texting between visits.

Embrace Technology

Some grandparents and great-grandparents get very overwhelmed with the thought of using technology to stay connected. Technology has been made easier for the less digitally savvy. 

For example, have you heard of the ‘Grandpad’? It is a subscription-based simplified version of a tablet, created and powered by Consumer Cellular. The $40 a month Grandpad has unlimited data and video calling. 

Designed with seniors in mind, the simple tablet is void of many of the features of other tablets. It has large buttons, making it easy for grandparents to video chat, call, text, and email their loved ones.

Many digitally savvy grandparents I know have created Facebook accounts and are happy to share photos of their grandkids visits or a ball game. Facebook is the number one platform for those over fifty, with 3 out of 4 grandparents having an account. 

Nearly 1/3 of grandparents between the ages of 50 and 64 have an Instagram account.

(For safety disable the geo-location app on your phone so that the latitude and longitude of any photo's location will not be displayed on the internet.)

Social Sav

Post and share all of the pics you want of life and let your grands comment if they want to, but digitally savvy grandparents know to refrain from commenting on every post the grandkids make (totally embarrassing Grandma and Grandpa!). 

If you see a post that raises concern, have an off-line conversation with their parents or directly with them, but it is socially unacceptable to ‘call them out’ in front of their friends. Don’t burn your bridges!

I don’t tell my grandkids that I spend time listening and then quickly looking up who or what they are talking about, so I can sound knowledgeable. I watch Instagram Reels and TikTok videos to stay relevant. 

I haven’t decided if I will use the platforms, but at least I have a working understanding of which hashtags are trending and the most popular TikTok dances. Yes, that's a real thing, and like me, you can watch them on YouTube if you don’t want to set up a TikTok account.

Want to be the cool grandparent? Start video chatting. Text them! Send funny memes. Break out in a popular TikTok dance at the next family gathering!

Bonus Tip: If you are reading this and you are the mom with kids still in the nest, you can apply these principles and be a digitally savvy mom!

As Titus 2 women, we can encourage our families and others from our experiences. But technology may be more difficult for us as older people if we were not introduced to it at it's beginning. 

How do you interact with your grandchildren?

Do you have tips that help you or difficulties with technology you would like to share?

Please feel free to share your thoughts. 

Areyou a digitally savvy grandparent? (click to tweet)

Areyou an older person who has difficulties with technology? (click to tweet)

Mel Tavares has a unique background that makes her relatable to people from all walks of life. She is passionate about equipping people to thrive in a life of purpose and passion. She has been mentoring, counseling, and encouraging (particularly women) for over 30 years. Sometimes over a cup of coffee, sometimes through the printed page, and sometimes she speaks to groups. Regardless of the method, her message is the same-"Rise up and be all you were created to be!" Mel holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Pastoral Care and Counseling.


An award-winning author who has written four books under her name, Mel is a contributing writer to several books and magazines, has served as a ghostwriter for ministry leaders, and coached dozens of published authors.

You'll likely find her at her local church serving on staff, or in her writing studio, or in the kitchen whipping up dinner for her growing blended family of seven kids and ten grands. If you still can't find her-check the front porch. She's often seen there sipping a cup of coffee. If not there, it is likely she's somewhere along the Connecticut Shoreline catching waves or a sunset with her beloved hubby, Joe. You can reach Dr. Mel through her website https://www.drmeltavares.com/



  1. So enjoyed this encouraging post, but did have a question. How did you handle the question from your grand when you explained you knew their "unknown account" presence and information about what they're saying and doing? Did they feel you were intruding or spying on them? Thank you so much Ms. Mel for encouraging us to find ways to meet the younger generation on "their turf."

    1. Yes, J.D., Dr. Mel does encourage us by finding ways to relate to the younger set. I will let her answer your question (and a good observation by you) about explaining her presence on the kids social media. Blessings!

  2. Hi J.D.! I think it depends on your relationship with each grandchild but there is a sense of security that my grandkids have, knowing they can tell me anything and knowing that I am watching as a protective measure rather than spying on them. I already Facetime with them and watch TikTok videos, so the trust is there. In my case, the part she hadn't confessed to me involved the Instagram account-and she was in dangerous waters interacting with adults. My view is if I am 90% positive and meeting them on their turf-having fun with them...I feel they won't be offended if we address concerns over their activities or ask questions. I hope I've clarified.

    1. Clarification: I had watched TikTok videos with her and an older brother--not on her account, as she was still saying she didn't have an account.

  3. Although somewhat technology savvy, I still have a long ways to go so I'm always grateful for advice. Thank you Dr. Mel and Barbara for sharing. I haven't braved the TikTok world yet! I agree, social media is a great way to to stay in touch with family and help our younger ones use those tools wisely.

    1. I am going to brave TikTok this fall, when I have a little more time to learn the platform. We can learn together!

    2. Katherine, I haven't braved TikTok and I don't think I will. I have enough social media to deal with already! Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  4. Thanks for encouraging us to stay up with the technology so we can remain relevant.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Joanna. We do all need to remain diligent in the upgrades to technology since our lives depend upon it now. Blessings!