PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Seventy-seven year old Al Kouba, a retired engineer, learned that his son was posting his Christmas cards this year on Facebook.

Realizing that communicating with his family meant going online, Kouba enlisted his 15 year old granddaughter for help. While teens can be motivating teachers, the cognitive and psychological gaps can be daunting, forcing adjustments between generations—and eye-rolling by the young teachers.

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Only 30% to 60% of people over 65 ever go online compared with the US average of 79% according to a Pew Research Center study; however, those 74 and over are the fastest growing group on social-networking sites.

Net Literacy, a Carmel, Indiana, non-profit agency understood the value of teens as teachers; 400-600 young people are instructed annually on teaching older adults in the Senior Connects program. Students there found that eliminating jargon and adding pictures made the prospect more inviting.

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New York’s Pace University as a service learning activity sends students to retirement facilities to teach seniors how to use email, online banking, Wii and video chat. See The Wall Street Journal article for more ideas.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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