Toddlers and telephones

This article by:

Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez

My mom lives more than 14 hours away. That trip is significantly shorter when done by airplane, but the inability to reach my mom quickly has plagued me since my son’s birth.

Sometimes I feel like I robbed her of the grandmother experience by having my first child hundreds of miles from her, and, truthfully, that hurts. To combat the distance, we do all we can to ensure she is always a click away through technology. That way, while we only see her in person a few times a year, she gets to be involved in all our milestones.

The following are three ways we use technology to stay in touch despite the distance.

Picture messages

We send her a ton of pictures. I try to send one a day but more often than not it’s five. When you’ve sent thousands of pictures like we have, it doesn’t take long for them to feel redundant. But each image is worth the annoyance of getting him to stand still to make sure that my mom is included in her grandson’s life.

I get to see all of our pictures on her wall at work when we visit. Pictures allow you to capture a moment in time, forever. We use picture messages when I want to be sure that we can reflect on something whether heartwarming, sad, or hilarious for many days to come.

Video chat

We use video chat so she can see things when they are happening. I might pick video chat over a picture when my son is practicing his numbers and I want her to see how much he learned. When he’s doing a funny dance, and I want her to see it before he notices that I’m looking. And when I need her to see the facial expressions and gestures that go with recounting our day.


Snapchat functions like a hybrid between video chat and picture messages because it can send both images and videos. Snapchat is great for when we want to send quick silly customized pictures or videos.

Snapchat gives us the opportunity to capture moments and add images, location tags, and filters. It’s more likely to be used for things that happen regularly, but with a fun twist. And it gives us the chance to capture a moment without costing us as much phone memory.

Many families like my own keep in touch through technology and other internet-based services. I’m excited to see what we will come up with over the course of the next few years to keep families from feeling the miles between us.

It’s hard living far away from your family. It’s even harder when you started a family away from your family. Thanks to technology, we get to keep close – despite the distance. 

About the author:
Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is a writer who specializes in sociology, health, and parenting. Her work has appeared in Healthline, Yes! Magazine, HuffPost, Allure, and many other publications. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or check out her website.

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