Internet keeps us in touch with Lolo and Lola

Monday, September 14, 2009

Children the world-over enjoy being doted upon by their grandparents. Maybe because they are less concerned with disciplining their beloved apos and have loads of time on their hands, lolos and lolas more responsive, less critical, and seem to always be there, showering attention on their grandchildren.

And it seems that grandchildren, even those who are already grown up, have careers and families, continue to treasure moments spent with their lolos and lolas.

An informal poll, conducted by Bayan Communications with grandchildren via Plurk and Facebook social networking sites, revealed that given the chance, 87 percent would want to continue communicating with their grandparents.

The same informal poll revealed that 81 percent of Filipinos are close to their grandparents, and that 57 percent still visit from time to time.

However, in this fast-paced world where everything happens so fast and tasks have to be juggled simultaneously, the weekend lunches with lolos and lolas seem to be happening fewer and far-between, and even the occasional phone call gets buried under a barrage of to-dos.

But all is not lost since a new communications tool, which ironically contributed to the fast-pace of this new age, is also offering a means through which grandchildren and their grandparents can constantly keep in touch. This is of course the internet.

According to Nielsen’s Net Index Topline Report (2008), the Philippine media landscape has changed so much that internet has slowly encroached upon, and in some cases even overtaken, the popularity of traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers.

More people, usually of the younger set, educated, single, either studying or at the prime of their careers, are using the internet – specifically its more cutting edge applications like instant messaging, social networking, and blogging.

The Nielsen study also predicts that the Philippines will have over 35 million internet users in 2012, from a little over 20 million this year.

“This development bodes well for helping relatives stay in constant touch, and is the reason why Bayan Communications is embarking on an internet skills training program for the elderly, through Project Lola” says Tunde Fafunwa, Chief Executive Officer of Bayan Telecommunications.

The giant communications firm, a member of the Lopez Group, sees the potential of the internet to bridge the communications divide between grandparents and grandchildren, between the old and the young.

However, while the younger set is fully equipped to deal with the internet’s varied tools (given that computer courses are virtually de rigeur in schools, even at the primary levels), the more mature members of society are only now being schooled in this technological marvel.

Learning to work the computer, not to mention navigating the internet, might as well be Greek to them.

“Project Lola endeavors to teach the older set about the computer and the internet. It offers training on such diverse topics as how to operate a computer, where to find the appropriate icons to click, how to write and manage e-mail, how to go about instant messaging, and how to navigate the intricate world of social networking sites,” Fafunwa shares.

It may never truly replicate the thrill of an actual visit, but virtually communicating with lolo and lola lets them know that their apos still care. And what’s great, this caring can even be done anytime and from anywhere in the world.

Subscribe to My Feed

Ang Sa Wari Ko

Open Road