Teens Can Teach Gram How to ‘Gram (and Win a $4K Scholarship!)


It’s no secret that the members of the Choices team are big advocates of mentoring up, as well as down. (Seriously! You can read all about it in the New York Post.) We’re also obsessed with how much teens know about technology, and we understand that sometimes—just sometimes—it can be really tough for kids to connect with old people, no matter how much they love them. (That’s why our Holiday Survival Guide included tips for those potentially awkward convos.)

So, what are we getting at here? DoSomething.org’s Grandparents Gone Wired Campaign, running now through January 3, is an awesome opportunity to encourage young people to share their digital-native knowledge with the eldery—with benefits on both ends.

Think about it: If you’re a teen, it isn’t just gratifying to give back, but there’s something incredibly confidence-boosting about being able to teach someone older the ropes. And if you’re part of the 44% of adults 65 and older who currently doesn’t use the Internet? Well, learning how to email or video chat with far-flung relatives, for instance, can improve your quality of life in a pretty insane way.

As per the usual, the DoSomething crew is keeping it fun (teens are encouraged to get their mentee to Instagram a selfie, #ggw), and they’re offering up some big-time incentive for getting involved (one participant will win a $4,000 scholarship!). So we encourage you to share this campaign with your students and kids before the holiday season kicks into high gear.

Admittedly, we think this totally natural way to bond could make that awkward-convo advice we offered up in the November issue a little obsolete. (More info below!)

DoSomething.org’s Grandparents Gone Wired

The Big Idea:GGW_1
This year, in partnership with MentorUp (a new way to make a difference by the AARP Foundation), DoSomething.org’s Grandparents Gone Wired campaign will help elderly people across the country adopt current technology and prepare them to use it independently.

Why It Matters:
Depression affects more than 6.5 million of the 35 million Americans ages 65 or older, and studies have shown that Internet use reduces the risk of depression by 34% in the elderly. Thus, teens have the potential to greatly increase the quality of life of elderly people by teaching them how to use technology

How It Works:

  1. Young people pick an elderly person in their life (grandparent, great-aunt, etc.) or choose to participate through a nearby senior center.
  2. Using steps provided for each type of technology, the young person will teach the elderly person to use the technology.
  3. The DS member will submit a picture with their mentee to the Grandparents Gone Wired microsite to enter to win a $4,000 scholarship. The more people the DS member helps, the more times they are entered to win.

Types of Technology to Teach/Learn:
Computer, Phone, Tablet, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Video Chat, Email