Kollel Milhamta Shel Torah of Queens A Spiritual Home for Torah and Tefillah

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Dear Jido,

Many of my friends are close with their grandchildren. Up until this year, I was extremely close with mine too. However, things have changed with my oldest granddaughter, Sara, since she got a smartphone for her birthday. Every time she visits, she is glued to it. She does not want to chat, cook with me, or go shopping. She is constantly texting her friends. When her mother forces her to put the phone away, she becomes miserable and acts like she would rather be anywhere else except with me.

I would appreciate your advice and guidance on how I should handle this.

Signed, Discarded Sito

Dear Discarded,

Oh, if you were the only one ever excluded by their grandchildren because of technology.

In my day, I lost out to Pacman, Nintendo, Game Boy, Wii U, cell phones, finger-spinners, and the internet. Ach, but those are my problems, let’s get back to yours.

You say she really loves you but doesn’t have time for you anymore. So, here’s what you do. Next time she comes over, when she’s not looking, sneak into a seat next to her, put your arm around her shoulders and say, “Show me.”

“Aw, come on Grandma, you’ll never understand.”

“I know, so show me. I promise I won’t read your friends’ messages.”

Lean in and have a good laugh. If you have ANY experience with a smartphone, show her a thing or two. (It may not be a bad idea to have someone show you a trick and then spring it on her).

This generation, it seems, has lost touch with the importance of personal contact. They even had to give it a special name. What used to be called “talking” is now called “face time.”

Once you have broken the ice with her on HER territory, tell her what’s on your mind. Don’t expect to be able to compete with her friends, so be prepared to be cut short as another, all-important text makes its way to her screen. As long as she knows that when those really, truly important things come along and she needs to share “face time” with someone who cares, Hashem created grandmas as that special person to call. Even though she only uses a flip phone.

Good luck,

Jido