Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Oct. 22, 2013

Campaign Helps Grandparents Get Plugged-In and Go Wired

Project Administrator, Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI)

Today, DoSomething.org announced the re-launch of their Grandparents Gone Wired campaign. If you haven’t heard about them or the program yet, keep reading. Spoiler alert: both are totally awesome!

DoSomething.org is the nation’s largest youth organization, encouraging 13 to 25 year-olds to get involved with issues they care about – no parents or money required. To use their words, they believe young people are capable of making a difference and should have the ability to easily get involved with kick-ass causes.

While they’re currently hosting campaigns that run the gamut from can recycling to blood and bone marrow donation drives, my personal favorite is Grandparents Gone Wired (GGW). Not only does GGW have one of the best campaign names ever, it’s one of the best pro-youth, pro-technology efforts in recent memory.

The idea is simple: young people teach their grandparents or senior citizens in their area to use technology. Then, once they’re done, they share their experiences and are entered into a pool to win a $5,000 scholarship.

Teaching an older person to use the computer or Facebook doesn’t seem important, you say? Well, it is. Almost half of all senior citizens in the United States aren’t online. That’s a huge percentage of the population who could greatly benefit from increased connectivity.

I mean, what if everyone in a senior’s family has moved away and they feel lonely or depressed: social networks can help with that. Or maybe they have decreased mobility and aren’t able to drive to the doctor’s office: email is a quick, easy, and effective way to get in touch.

Computers, texting, and social media are too often talked about as the young person’s time-suck. But, digital tools are so much more than that. And young people, with all their savvy, are perfectly positioned to prove it. DoSomething.org gets that, and it’s why I love the campaign.

Their Chief Marketing Officer, Naomi Hirabayashi, loves it too. When asked about the campaign, she said:

“I love this campaign because it’s all about teens using their natural abilities to help people in their community stay connected. They are giving something valuable in the form of skills and experience, not through money which isn’t relevant for young people."

So whether it’s recycling, drives, or computer lessons, today’s young people have a real opportunity to make an impact with their natural skills and abilities. It's even easier when they have the support of adults and awesome organizations like this one – support systems encouraging them to not only do something, but do something good.

Images courtesy of  Flickr