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Our child's surviving great grandma doesn't get to see our son as much as she (or us) would like. I would love to be able to setup a simple to use video phone for her to "join us" during playtime or even dinner (in the great room).

How can I engage a technophobic elder to try to use a video phone to communicate with us?

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  • I've removed the part asking for suggestions for products, as that's specifically off-topic for our site. I think the part asking about how to engage an elder into using a video chat system is more relevant to parenting.
    – user420
    Aug 7, 2013 at 16:10
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    at SOME point the product defines the solution (computer, TV, IP phone, etc). I'm not sure you can totally remove it from the question.
    – BozoJoe
    Aug 8, 2013 at 4:25

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I would provide the relative with the same hardware and software that you use. Whether that's a phone, a tablet, a netbook, a laptop, or whatever - you will be their only technical support and "there should be a menu to let you adjust the volume, can you see anything that looks like a little speaker?" isn't going to work. You will need to be able to say "down in the bottom right, there is a triangle with a lot of little semi circles moving off from it to the right" or "on the Options menu, the 5th one down is Settings".

A visit that involves both setting it up and doing a test call from another room will take care of most of the issues. You can be sure that they have a microphone and a webcam and that everything is configured correctly.

Do not attempt to try to teach the person all the background, such as the difference between a web page and an app, or email and typing in the Skype chat area. Focus on the benefit - use a video call if you want to see the baby and for the baby to see you. Start with only one modality - video call or facebook photos or vine or whatever - and add more if the relative says "if only we could also ..."

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  • One thing that I've found helps us tremendously with grandma is to set up remote control for them (we use a free LogMeIn account). That way we can just help her directly with tech problems and don't have to try to describe the "little speaker" or whatever it is.
    – Becuzz
    Aug 7, 2013 at 17:51
  • Yeah remote works for a full blown computer setup, but I want to get "easier" than that with a device. e.g. go push this button on thing on the TV.
    – BozoJoe
    Aug 8, 2013 at 4:09

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