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Communications

Grandma's On the Computer Screen This Thanksgiving 73

Pickens writes "Video calling, long anticipated by science fiction, is filtering into everyday use, and two demographic groups not usually thought of as high-tech are among the earliest adopters — the nursery school set and their grandparents. According to the AARP, nearly half of American grandparents live more than 200 miles from at least one of their grandchildren, and about two-thirds of grandchildren see one set of grandparents only a few times a year, if that. Internet companies are also promoting video chat as an enhancement to standard IM and Internet phone services; for example, this month Google introduced bare-bones video capability in Gmail. Some veterans of the technology fear that the video cam has started to substitute, rather than supplement, actual time together. And no one quite knows what it means to a generation of 2-year-olds to have slightly pixelated versions of their grandparents as regular fixtures in their lives."

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