“I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself what a wonderful world,” sang Louis Armstrong once upon a time.

And these words resonate in a world where technology has advanced light years in just a matter of decades. After all, when the grandparents of today’s grandchildren were babies, the earliest computers were large enough to fill an entire room. There was no internet as we know it. There was no – GASP! – Facebook. There was no app for that. And now? Well, we carry our virtual lives in the palms of our hands.

While this generation of grandparents can probably remember the first time they watched color TV, children today are born into a culture of technology: With child-friendly apps on cellphones, babies as young as eighteen months can draw their finger along a phone screen and create a picture. (You know, provided their parents are brave – or desperate for a few minutes of quiet — enough to let them.)

It seems like while kids these days are whizzing by on the technology fast track, and Grandma and Grandpa are taking the slow train, that there is no common virtual rest stop for these two different generations to sit down together and ‘chat.’

Oh, but not so.

How the iPad has changed the way grandparents and grandchildren communicate

Enter the iPad.  With a user-friendly interface, the iPad is ideal for those who are behind the technological learning curve.  Unlike a computer, the iPad is more intuitive to master, and allows the user to focus on the task at hand, whether it be an ebook, an interesting online article, an app geared toward seniors, or a chat program.

While using chat programs on the iPad, grandparents can now more easily connect with their grandchildren in a very real (albeit virtual!) way:  Even when Little Jack lives in Los Angeles and Grampa John lives in Brooklyn, they can  communicate several times a day in ways that foster a deeper relationship and create talking points for when they are able to meet.   And because kids are ahead of the technology learning curve, the iPad functions almost like a school tablet where grandchildren become the teachers and the grandparents are the avid pupils.

This quirky role reversal allows the generations to connect like never before, and next thing you know, both Little Jack and Grampa John will be watching Lady Gaga together on youtube in real time, three timezones away.