Over the Hills, Through the Web: Here Come Grandma and Grandpa -- MyGrandchild.com combines real-time audio, video, interactive books and games to create virtual visits between long-distance grandparents and grandchildren

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Grandma and Grandpa used to live around the corner. It used to be easy to see them. Now they live 400 miles, or more, away and visit the grandchildren only once a year. The launch of http://www.MyGrandchild.com, a first-of-its kind Web site that combines real time audio/video, chat, and interactive games and activities, will bridge the divide of time, distance, and the short attention span of young children, to allow grandparents the opportunity to virtually visit anytime.

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MyGrandchild.com is a service that is clearly going to fill a need

    "We have seen people trying to have meaningful telephone conversations with young children and found it to be very difficult at best," said Dror Oberman, CEO and founder of MyGrandchild.com. "Grandparents will now be able to have engaging and enriching 'face-to-face' conversations, play games, create crafts and even read their grandchildren a cyber good - night story, all in real time, with MyGrandchild.com."

That's good news for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and parents who are away from their families on prolonged business trips, military deployments, or are separated because of divorce.

"MyGrandchild.com is a service that is clearly going to fill a need," Oberman added. "Society is now very mobile and extended families are no longer living close together. Since we see this trend continuing into the future, it means families will only see more geographic separation and fewer visits together."

Virtual Visits

The newly-launched MyGrandchild.com creates an online experience for grandparents and grandchildren that is the virtual version of a physical visit. It allows grandparents and grandchildren to do the same things they would if they were physically visiting each other, such as reading books together, playing games, and doing art activities.

To get started, grandparents simply register their information on the site and create profiles for each grandchild. There is nothing to download, nor is a credit card required, and new visitors are offered three no-cost meetings.

Once registered, just three steps are required to arrange and start conducting a visit: choose, invite, and meet.

-- First, a grandparent chooses the books and activities that would interest the children they are going to visit;

-- Second, a grandparent invites a child by selecting a date and time for their visit. An email invitation with the designated date, time, activity, and secure meeting code is sent to the email address of the parent or caretaker of the child;

-- Last, the adult and child log in using a secure meeting code and meet with each other. The site's activities and a child's attention span lend themselves best to 30-minute visits.

MyGrandchild.com is launching with 15 books. Each book comes with two games that help enrich the reading experience. New books are added on weekly basis. Unique game packages will be added in February.

Grandparents have a variety of meeting packages to choose from, ranging from one session at $4.95 to a yearly subscription for $95.50, allowing 50 meetings between grandparent and grandchild. Gift cards also are available and are sold in denominations that follow the meeting package pricing.

To help prepare for a meeting, the site offers adults tips, tools and information that the child does not see, including technical information and advice to ensure enriching visits.

MyGrandchild.com is a synchronic, or real-time, environment where users on different computers can simultaneously view and manipulate the site while seeing and hearing one another.

In order to get the full experience from the Web site, it is recommended that new users purchase a Web camera and a headset that includes and microphone and headphone for each user. MyGrandchild.com works best on high speed broadband networks.

MyGrandchild.com believes that cyber security for children is of the utmost importance, and has measures in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Additionally, MyGrandchild.com complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and strongly suggests that parents routinely talk to their children about interacting with the Internet, as well as follow well-known recommendations for keeping children and their identities safe while on the Internet.

About Mr. Dror Oberman

Prior to founding MyGrandchild.com, Oberman spent more than five years as the CEO of the Snunit Center for the Advancement of Web-Based Learning, based in Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Snunit develops content in Hebrew, Arabic, English and other European languages, serving 75% of Israeli elementary schools subscribers and hundreds of thousands of open-audience users.

Oberman brings leadership as well as a unique ability to identify social and educational needs. A creative collaborator, he is skilled in working with people from varied backgrounds and marked by a long-term commitment to educational and social improvements based on personal integrity and a humanistic approach.

About MyGrandchild.com

MyGrandchild.com was established in June, 2006 by an international group of educational, technologies and social entrepreneurs committed to forming and nurturing connections among families, particularly children, by overcoming barriers such as distance, language and time. Using the scope and power of the internet, the site's creators endeavor to foster family values and develop a springboard for establishing positive connections within families world-wide.

Editor's note: Mr. Oberman is available for interviews during Eastern Standard Time business hours. Reporters are invited interact with MyGrandchild.com and visit their grandchildren, children, or nieces and nephews through the no-cost trial available to all new users.

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Dror Oberman
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