Top Tips for Helping Silver Surfers to get Online

Top Tips for Helping Silver Surfers to get Online

Back in the 1950s, the first video tape recorder had just been introduced, the first micro-chip created and televisions weren’t even available in colour yet, never mind being able to record programmes. Fast forward to today, and all that youngsters seem to be talking about are iPhones, iPads and numerous other gadgets.

But putting all that aside, for elderly people even just getting online can be a daunting prospect. In the UK alone, recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that almost three quarters of women aged 75 and over – that’s around two million people – have never been online. This is also the case for 59% of men in the same age bracket.

Elderly people are a fast-growing part of the population in Europe and the UK. Nearly one in five of the population are expected to be aged 65 or over by 2020, so being able to live independently at home for as long as possible is key. And with governments and businesses moving a lot of their services online in order to reduce operating costs, it’s more important than ever to have a good working computer and know how to operate it.

Another study of note comes from Digital Ignite, finding that of those older people using the internet, 86% said that it had improved their lives and 72% said that getting online had helped reduce any feelings of isolation.

There are many benefits to using the internet and it’s not difficult to learn the basic skills. Here are a few tips to help get silver surfers started:

1. It doesn’t have to put you out of pocket
For first time computer buyers, there’s no need to look for the newest, all singing all dancing computer model. It’s important to take a little bit of time to shop around and find a computer at the price right. Keep an eye out for sales at local computer stores and don’t be scared to ask for advice from a sales assistant. It’s what they are there for.

2. Shop around for a good broadband deal
You can’t connect to the internet without a broadband connection. Shop around in order to understand what’s needed and compare the offers available in your area to help find the best broadband deal – which tends to be cheaper for first timers.

3. Make sure your PC is set up correctly
We’re pretty lucky with the technology available to us today. There are many helpful features available on all computer operating systems and most websites, including the ability to enlarge text or have words read aloud.

4. Stay connected with friends and family
It might be a scary thought, but something as simple as signing up to a social network like Facebook or Twitter will open silver surfers up to a world of social opportunities. Whether it’s keeping in touch with family members, reconnecting with old friends or just becoming part of an online community, this is a great way to instantly communicate with others.

5. Dispel any fears around safety
There’s no need to compromise your privacy online. The internet is not a bad place. As long as the antivirus software is up to date there shouldn’t be an issue. For added safety, it’s worth downloading a software solution called CCleaner, which wipes anything entered on a website, from passwords to card numbers. Check out this short video for more advice on staying secure online:

And if in doubt, just ask…

Many find it embarrassing to ask for help when it comes to struggling with technology, but never be afraid to ask for help. For those reluctant to seek help from family or neighbours, Student@Home is a local IT support service that offers friendly advice in a dialogue you understand to solve any computer issues you might have.

For more information on Student@Home, visit:

By Kelly Klein, founder and CEO, Student@Home.

Written by Editor.
For further information, including updated features, hints & tips for your Third Age, please sign up for our FREE Monthly Newsletter.

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