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3 New Apps to Help Keep in Touch With Your Grandkids

3 New Apps to Help Keep in Touch With Your Grandkids

Keeping in touch with grandkids can be an ongoing challenge in this age of technology. Especially when the kiddos prefer to keep their attention fixated on screens instead of faces, and the old-fashioned concept of conversation has been demoted to text form, or worse, snapped pictures that last for thirty seconds.

Granted, I am not a grandparent; however, I feel I have some clout on this subject, seeing as my kids have grandparents and they do want to communicate with their grandparents—they just want to do it in a way that they're familiar with and not necessarily one the grandparents gravitate to. Never fear! There are ways to stay in touch with the grandkids that won't use every last cell of your enthusiasm, and that is mostly easy to navigate—even if you're not into using apps as a whole. I'll be honest, while the title of this article says "new," I use the word loosely as not to cite the creation date of the app so much as to mean "new-to-you" and introduce you to options you may not have known existed.

Another great thing to note is the apps are all free! That's a bonus for a few reasons, one important one being if you try and can't figure it out or absolutely despise it, you can get rid of it without feeling as though you wasted any monetary investment. Bonus points for that, right? And bonus points for trying! Okay, so here we go with a list of "new" apps that may change the frequency of your communication with your grandchildren:

1. Discord 

This app will be familiar to your grandkids, especially if they are in their teens and especially if they are gamers. (What are gamers, you ask? Video game enthusiasts—or addicts—you choose.)

Discord is basically a texting application, so it will require your ability to type a message on your phone. The nice thing with Discord is that it's clean, which means there aren't a zillion bells and whistles to navigate through. Once you're set up, you open the app, see your grandchild's user photo, click on it, and there you go.

Why use Discord over just texting? Well, Discord adds the extra bonus of organizing your chats by subjects. In other words, you could click on your grandchild's profile and have different "threads" (subjects) under which you can chat. You could have threads such as Schedule, What Happened Today, Homework Help, and so on. So, suppose your grandchild wants your help with homework. In that case, they will select that topic or thread and ask their question there—no need to lose the question somewhere in the middle of another conversation about something totally different. Now you can organize your conversations, and yes, you can add photos too if you want!

Last but not least, one of the other things that have made Discord—which used to be primarily for gamers—become a source of social communication outside of the gaming world is that it isn't (so far anyway) owned by Facebook or other major social media platforms. This means if the rest of the social media world were to be annihilated, you could still communicate with your grandkids on Discord.

2. Snapchat 

Don't scowl at me! I know it's technically not new, and it may be the most hated app of anyone over the age of sixty. However, it is probably one of the—if not the primary app of communication for your grandchild who has access to apps. Even my nine-year-old wants Snapchat—so far, my answer has been "no," but I'll see how long I can hold out.

Why Snapchat? Because kids like to talk in photos. It's the thing, I guess. Snap a picture of your ceiling or floor, or the toe of your shoe, or your face, or a scene outside a moving car window - the point is, the photo itself doesn't have to make sense. It's just a way to send a photo hello to someone in your contacts list. Once the picture is sent, the receiver is notified and looks at the photo, which then disappears into proverbial oblivion, and you won't see it again. However, Snapchat also has a chat feature, which means if you want to send a pic to get your grandkid's attention, it's probably the fastest way to achieve that. And then, type them a message in text form in the chatbox, and soon you're basically texting.

Again, why this and not just text? Because I guarantee you, your grandkids will check their text messages at various times of the day, but the moment a Snap comes through, they are on it. It's the quickest and fastest way to gain their attention. Don't underestimate yourselves! My 74-year-old mother was a Snapchat reluctant until she joined, and once she and my daughter began "snapping," it was game on. They had a blast and were in constant communication throughout the day. It can be done!

3. Facebook Messenger Kids 

This app is genuinely the best if your grandchild is under the age of thirteen. Most kids have access to tablets, but most won't be given rights to open-access social media and all the creepy stalker people hanging out in the dark Internet world.

Messenger is an app offered by Facebook, but you do not need to have a Facebook account to use it. You can simply download the application and connect to your grandkid's user account. To clarify, the child's parent will need a Facebook account to set up their child's account and monitor it and approve who the child friends, but you, as an adult user, can manage your own. There's a whole litany of easy-to-figure-out options in order to use the app. You can text, draw pictures, send pictures, play games, and video chat. My kiddos love to use it to have face-to-face time with their grandparents. My dad would often help my son with his schoolwork (homeschooled) via the app, and it was great to have my son pick my dad's teacherly brain and have fun doing it. It allows the grandparents to be with their grandkids which is a huge bonus, especially if distance separates and spending time in person is limited.

There are other apps to be aware of too. FaceTime is the iPhone's version of video chatting. There are also chat options through Instagram and Facebook if you already have those set up as apps on your phone, and even TikTok has joined in the private chat box option if you're into that sort of app. The point is there are ways to stay in touch with your grandkids that don't require a Ph.D. in Computer Science. The further technology goes, the easier many of these apps become. They're user-friendly (many of them), intuitive, and with a bit of practice and maybe a lesson or two, you'll find yourself mastering one before you know it. And then? You'll find yourself communicating with your grandkids more than you ever thought you would!

It's a win-win!

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Maurian Soares Salvador

Jaime Jo Wright is the winner of the Carol, Daphne du Maurier, and INSPY Awards. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of three novellas. The Christy Award-Winning author of “The House on Foster Hill”, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing suspenseful mysteries stained with history's secrets. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at!