If the geek dad in your house is anything like the geek dad in my house, there's no better Father's Day treat than a couple of hours of geek-out time at your nearest WiFi café. Use JiWire.com to find a WiFi hot spot in your neighborhood, and give Dad a gift card so he can enjoy his coffee and computer time in peace.
For the Luddite dad, give the gift of time offline. Book him a tee time using GolfPatio.com. Find the nearest yoga class on YogaFinder.com. Visit CookingSchools.com, and send him to a cooking class so he can perfect his pie crust. Whatever his hobby, you can use the Web to ensure he can enjoy a few relaxing hours to himself.
For Your Own Dad
A recent study found that Internet use reduces the risk of depression in seniors, so if your own dad is among the millions of older Americans who are now logging on, give him a cheer! Pay tribute to your geek dad by creating a Facebook album full of pictures of the two of you together; tag him in all the photos so your proud papa will show up in his friends' news feeds.
Or help your Luddite dad enjoy the photos he's missing online by printing those adorable photos of the grandkids onto something he can keep around the house or office. Go beyond the usual mug or mouse pad by ordering a customized jacket, sneakers or photo sculpture on Zazzle.com.
All Year Round
The best thing you can do for Dad is to make sure that June 20 isn't the only day he feels extra special. So queue up a few dozen tweets for a geek dad that send him jokes, how-tos or simple "I love yous"; services like HootSuite.com will let you schedule a whole series of tweets to go out over the course of the next year.
You can make Luddite dad feel just as special by reminding yourself to tell him how much he means to you. While you're in the Father's Day mood, enter an appointment in your computer's calendar with a title like "Do something special for Dad." Then, set it to repeat once a month or even once a week.
Of course, you don't need a computer to remind Dad that you love him. But turning your computer into a dad-loving machine is a great way to remind yourself and your kids that your time online is most meaningful when it helps you deepen your connections to the people you love.
Do you have some ideas about how to use the Web to celebrate dads? Share your thoughts below!
Alexandra Samuel, PhD, is the director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University and the principal of Social Signal, a social media agency that has launched more than 30 online communities. The mother of two young kids, Samuel blogs about how to make technology a meaningful part of your life, work and world. Follow her on Twitter.
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