Last year, Kayla Kawalec joined our Grandparents Gone Wired campaign and taught the seniors in her life some important lessons on basic technology. She made this video and even won an iPad. (Not bad for an afternoon spent on Facebook.)
Now, the 18-year-old University of Florida student reflects on how she helped her grandparents get up to speed - just in time for this year’s GGW campaign, which launches Dec. 4.
What did you do to help your grandparents go wired?
I helped my grandparents learn the little ins and outs of their brand-new laptop, and I set them up with Facebook and an email account.
What inspired you to take action?
My grandparents didn't have a computer until last year, and they desperately needed assistance learning how to use one. I wanted my grandparents to be able to set up a Facebook account so they could join my family's Facebook page and get updated on everyone's lives.
Are your grandparents thriving with technology now?
Yes! I don't know if thriving is the right word, they still struggle with some aspects of the technology, but they definitely keep surprising me. They donated to my online fundraiser through Facebook the other day and I was shocked. I'm still not sure how they figured out how to do that.
What were some challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?
My grandparents had a lot of trouble reading the screen and even doing what I thought to be simple things like using a trackpad or mouse. I was able to set them up with a magnifying application, and I found with patience they were able to learn, but I had to keep reminding myself that they didn't grow up on this technology and it was an entirely new concept to them.
Why do you think it's important for seniors to be tech savvy?
Just because someone is old doesn't mean change doesn't affect them anymore. It does! The world is progressing at the speed of light and seniors should be able to keep up with it. Newspapers, social media sites, and other important applications on the web shouldn't be ignored by seniors.
What advice can you offer to other young people?
Be patient! Remember that they didn't grow up with a keyboard under their fingertips like you did. And have fun. I had such a great time with my grandparents watching them learn the technology.
Your turn: join Grandparents Gone Wired for the chance to $5000 and other prizes. GO