Email Basics

In today’s world it is easy and inexpensive to keep in touch with distant friends and relatives through email. Although hand written notes and letters are still appreciated for special occasions, everyday correspondence is quicker and more efficient with email. Grandparents who live miles away from their grandkids (and even those who are just across town) can establish a ‘pen-pal’ relationship through regular use of email.

Corresponding Online

Even for grandparents who aren’t particularly techno-savvy, sending and receiving email is an easy to learn procedure. A good internet connection is all that you need to get started and these days, even rural areas have access to reliable internet. Some mobile phones are now internet ready, making it possible to check email from any location!

Most internet providers include some type of email program in their subscription fees and there are a wide variety of free email services available for those who feel the need for additional email addresses.

Finding such a service is as simple as typing the words “free email” into your favourite search engine. Many people find it valuable to have a few email addresses so that they can easily separate their business from their personal correspondence. Once grandparents are set up with email accounts, they can begin writing back and forth to their grandkids.

Bells and Whistles

While simple email notes are fine, there is so much more that you can do with email. By using a digital camera or webcam, grandparents and grandchildren can send each other current photos of themselves or even of funny things that they see in their daily lives. Digital cameras have become readily available, with basic models that produce good quality photos for a very reasonable price.

In addition to photos, email users can attach a variety of documents to their mail, allowing the recipient to view both text and artwork that is produced and stored on the computer. A child can write a story, illustrate it, and then easily send it off to Grandma.

If she is so inclined, Grandma can print the files and post them on her refrigerator! This is a simple procedure for both parties — virtually all email programs offer the option to attach a file into their outgoing email allowing the grandchild’s stories and drawings to be ready for display at Grandma’s house in just a few minutes.

Sharing Interests via Email

When browsing websites, it is not uncommon to come across a site that other people may find informative or entertaining. Sharing that site is as easy as including a link to the web page in an email. Some sites provide this option — if so, sending the page is done by simply entering the email address of the person who might enjoy it.

For sites that do not, grandparents and grandchildren can let the other know about fun sites by simply giving them the URL, or web address.

For instance, the URL to this Proud Grandparents homepage is You can find this at the top of the screen.

Another way to make emailing fun is to create something together, taking alternate turns. Grandchildren may wish to write a story with the help of their grandparents. The grandchild can write the opening paragraph, email it to their grandparents, and then the grandparents can add a paragraph and send it back. This can continue until together, they reach the “happily ever after” conclusion.

A Few Things to Know

As in all things, there are a few guidelines that apply to the use of email. Email etiquette isn’t complex, but there are a few basic “rules.” Avoid typing in ALL CAPITAL letters as that is seen as yelling. Use caps sparingly — only when you want to make an isolated point.

Additionally, people are becoming increasingly protective of their email address so that they can limit spam and other unsolicited email filling up their inbox. If you are sending an email to more than one person, it is a good practice to use the “bcc” option, which stands for blind carbon copy. This allows each recipient to view the email, but not the email addresses of other recipients.

Finally, try not to be too wordy in email, especially if you send frequent emails.

Email Shorthand

To help make communication quick and easy, email has its own customarily accepted shorthand. While kids are probably already familiar with most of these abbreviated sayings, grandparents may benefit from a quick lesson in email shorthand.

  • BCNU — be seeing you
  • BTW — by the way
  • FYI — for your information
  • IMHO — in my humble opinion
  • LOL — laughing out loud
  • LY4E — love you forever
  • ROTFL — rolling on the floor laughing
  • TTFN — ta ta for now
  • TTYL — talk to you later
  • XOXO — kisses and hugs
See Also
Old man using an iphone
Using Mobile Phones
Boy and girl on their mobiles
Children and Mobile Phones