A ground-breaking program encouraging thousands of students to ask Gran, not Google and forge links with senior Australians is being rolled out across Australia.
Ask Gran Not Google is about young people turning off their digital devices and seeking answers to life’s questions from more worldly, experienced and senior sources – grandparents, neighbours, family friends or residents living in aged care homes.
“This is a win-win innovation for young and old, focussing on the fun of generational sharing and the value of personal connections,” said Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt.
“Ask Gran Not Google is a touching reminder to young people and the wider community that the internet is far from the only source of valuable information in today’s world.
“It combines old-fashioned and high-tech methods to link young and old.
“While many questions are delivered via written postcards, the new Government-funded Virtual Seniors Centre offers the option of connecting the generations through video conferencing.”
To launch Ask Gran Not Google, Minister Wyatt and Assistant Minister for Children and Families, Michelle Landry, joined senior Australians in Canberra earlier this week for a live video link with students at Queensland’s Beenleigh State High School.
“This exciting project builds social inclusion and a sense of belonging,” said Ms Landry.
“By engaging more with older people, children and teenagers gain invaluable insights into the role seniors can play in their lives and in society.
“These types of projects inspire young people, enrich our communities, and promote wellbeing and safety.
“Senior Australians benefit from the social engagement and appreciation, while young students broaden their understanding and develop their communications skills.”
So far, more than 150 schools representing over 22,000 students across Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania have registered for Ask Gran Not Google. All schools, whether primary or secondary, public or private, are welcome to participate.
The Ask Gran Not Google concept is being driven by aged care provider Feros Care, through a $487,500 three-year Strong and Resilient Communities Grant.
Feros Care is also developing the Virtual Seniors Centre, through a $1 million grant from the federal government’s Dementia and Aged Care Services program.
“Both Ask Gran Not Google and the Virtual Seniors Centre are better connecting our communities and fostering a culture of respect that our senior Australians deserve,” Mr Wyatt said.
“They can meet people, share knowledge and have new experiences, all from the comfort of their homes.”
Feros Care expects Ask Gran Not Google will reach 91,000 students in more than 950 schools during the next three years, with plans to further expand it to 3,600 schools and 246,000 students.