The online masses know Justine Ezarik (aka iJustine) wouldn’t be the same without the Internet at her fingertips. Now the social media star wants to use her electronic know-how to teach older adults how to use technology in “Grandparents Gone Wired”.
The campaign is a joint effort between Ezarik, DoSomething.org, and the Mentor Up initiative of the AARP Foundation. “Grandparents Gone Wired” is an annual campaign in its second year that encourages teens to teach seniors in their local communities about electronics and current tech trends (like smartphones, email, video chat, and social media) so those seniors can become technologically independent and stay connected to their loved ones.
For 2014, Ezarik joined the two organizations’ push for older adult tech education (which is more than a fitting match for the geek gal who’s currently the host of her own show Hardwired on AOL). As part of her partnership with DoSomething.org and Mentor Up, iJustine filmed a promotional public service announcement. In it, she plays the superhero-ish character “The Great Update,” whose only power is the ability to update outdated tech into shiny, brand-spanking-new technology.
“I can’t imagine going one day without using the Internet to stay connected with friends and family,” said Ezarik in the release. “I love working with DoSomething.org and Mentor Up for ‘Grandparents Gone Wired’ because young people are the perfect tech teachers and using the Internet to stay in touch is second nature for them.”
DoSomething.org cites a study from The Journal of Gerontology which found internet use reduces the risk of depression in adults over the age of 65 by 34%. DoSomething.org figured if almost all 18-29 year-olds use the internet (98%), then they should do their best to make life better for older adults who are less likely to hop online (only 56% of them do so).
“This year, we expect a lot of Instagram(ma) #tbt pics, senior Snapchat stories, and some great throwback playlists on Spotify,” said Naomi Hirabayashi, Chief Marketing Officer at DoSomething.org, in the release. “This campaign lets young people share a skill that’s such a huge part of their lives to help improve the lives of older adults.”
“Grandparents Gone Wild” launches on November 12, 2014, and runs through January 4, 2015. Visit DoSomething.org/Grandparents if you’d like to sign up, and make sure to share a picture of yourself helping an older adult learn new tech for your chance to win a $10,000 scholarship.