When Villa Park mom Christine Beatty was growing up near Philadelphia, her grandparents came over every week for Sunday dinner. Today, Beatty’s own children are a two-day car ride away from their grandparents. They make regular visits and phone calls, but still, she says,"It bums me out a bit. I wish we were closer.”
A new Web site, MyGrandchild.com, gives far-flung families like Beatty’s another way to help bridge the gap. This site enables grandparents and grandchildren to make"virtual visits”—they can see and hear each other in real time, play games together and even share a good-night story from the site’s collection of interactive books.Dror Oberman, CEO and founder of
MyGrandchild.com, believes the site will fill a real need. Growing up in Israel, he didn’t have a lot of connection with his grandparents in the United States and Australia."We didn’t have the Internet then and phone conversations were not very meaningful,” he says.
“Today, there’s a lot of globalization and people move a lot. I wanted to find a solution for families in that situation.”
While it’s aimed at grandparents, MyGrandchild.com could benefit any number of family members, including aunts and uncles who live halfway around the world or parents away on long business trips.
The current selection of books and activities on the site is geared toward kids ages 3-8. Users on both ends need a Web cam and headset with microphone. And obviously, in what may be the deal breaker for some older folks, it requires that users feel comfortable using a computer.
New users can try out MyGrandchild.com for free with three no-cost visits. Then, a number of subscription options exist, ranging from a single session at $4.95 to a yearly subscription for $95.50, which allows for 50 online meetings.
New interactive books and game packages are being added to the site regularly and art activities will be available in mid-2008.
“Our vision is to provide any activity that kids and their parents or grandparents do when they’re physically together,” says Oberman."They’ll be able to talk, discover and explore together.”