With the aim of promoting active aging as well as intergenerational solidarity, the International Aid Network (IAN) organized a competition for grandparents and grandchildren in using computers to search the internet. The competition was organized in Belgrade, Serbia, as a part of a larger project called Silver Surfers.

“One cannot do anything to prevent getting older, but one must fight against becoming obsolete.“ - Somerset Maugham

The year 2012 has been named the European Year for Active Aging and Solidarity Among Generations. Active aging means aging in good health with greater independence and continued participation in civic and community life.

The competition was preceded by a series of IT classes for seniors organized in cooperation with partners across Serbia, including libraries, civil society organizations and schools. 

ICT training for seniors

At these trainings, 115 seniors from eight towns in Serbia learned to navigate the vast digital spaces offered by the internet, and to access the resources and opportunities available for the digitally literate.

Many participants were especially interested in learning to communicate via Skype and to transfer photos from a camera to a PC. Wishing to become familiar with the thing that has fascinated their grandchildren so much, many of them were also interested in grasping the world of social networks, especially Facebook, and therefore social networking became an essential part of the course.

Upon completing the course, the “silver surfers” were proud of themselves and pleased to have obtained modern skills that enabled them to find information faster and easier, to be in contact with friends and relatives who live abroad, and to lead a more fulfilled and richer life in the third age.

Grandparents-grandchildren team competition

In order to show that grandchildren can be of great support to their grandparents in mastering computer use and to stress the importance of intergenerational support in bringing digital literacy to seniors, the second part of the project included an IT grandchildren-grandparents competition.

Teams consisted of a grandparent older than 55 and a grandchild younger than 13. Fifteen pairs competed in the final competition after successfully meeting the qualifications in their hometowns. 

The most successful team, the winners of the finals, were Tomislav Popović and his grandson Aleksa. The pair won a laptop, after which the grandson said, “From now on I will help my grandpa even more to find what he wants on the Internet and to start using a computer completely independently.”

A special prize was awarded to the oldest contestant, 76-year old Momčilo Ivanović who impressed the audience and other competitors with his skills, demonstrating that the golden period of life can really be such if one has an active attitude towards life in the third age.

Silver surfers participating in this project have shown that age is not an obstacle to inclusion in the information society. The seniors recognise the values of lifelong learning that empower them to continuously build up their skills and stay included in modern trends in the society.

The project was supported by the Digital Agenda Administration, with the aim of highlighting the importance of digital literacy and bringing modern information-communication technologies closer to seniors.

View the video on the project

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Comment by Gordana Stankov on October 15, 2012 at 11:49

Thanks Huan! Ekatarina thanks for sharing the similar practice that you have with grandkids and grandparents. Me may think together of raising the Silver surfer competition to the international level in future and have grandparents-grandchildren teams from Russia competing as well;-)

Comment by Ekaterina Clifford on October 15, 2012 at 11:25

Great to learn about similar activities in different countries ;) A few of our Tvoy Kurs partners organized training events uniting grandparents and grandchildren during the last years, all were excited as well! Grandparents noted that they didn't feel obsolete anymore and could speak the same language to their grandkids. Children were happy to switch roles and act as teachers to their grandparents. It gave both boost to their self-esteem and let them learn more about their families.  

Comment by Juan Francisco Delgado on October 7, 2012 at 22:47
Congratulations Iván! A project that fits well in the European Year of Active Ageing. The Video and Gordana communication has been great. Also must be able to communicate what the telecentres. Thanks

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