Two older people using laptop computers. to access the internet

The Internet is for Everyone!

The internet is a scary place full of emojis, scammers and pop-up adverts that take over the screen. It’s a place for young people to communicate (or do whatever they do) while older people are happier meeting face to face over a cup of tea. Right? Wrong. That old-fashioned view is gathering dust alongside your old Yahoo email address. These days older people know the value of the internet, and they know how to use it.

Getting social on the internet

But still, this stereotype seems to be hanging around. There’s a myth that “77% of older people would need someone to help walk them through the process of setting up a new device.” But the actual numbers tell a very different story. Ofcom reports that the older generation is taking to tech in their thousands and are more connected than ever.

And it’s not just a quick Google search either. The older generation are embracing the more social aspect of the internet. With family and friends sometimes living hundreds of miles away, the value of being able to instantly and easily connect to them is obvious. It’s no surprise then, that among 65-74-year olds, almost half of them (48%) are now on a social media platform.

Generations connected

Learning about the internet and how to use social media is also a great way to spend time with your family – albeit online. Ask your friends and family for their Instagram handles, then set up a profile and start taking photos. You’ll be joining the ranks of the 25% of Brits over 50 who claim apps make their family lives easier, from organising special occasions to communicating day-to-day.

If you’ve not yet jumped on the digital bandwagon, there’s no time like the present to get involved. Adapting to new technology can seem daunting at first, but, like everything else, all it takes is a little practice. Most people agree that the older generation is getting more and more tech-savvy (60% of Brits, in fact). So now is the perfect time to set up that family WhatsApp group, pick out your favourite Insta filter, or post your first YouTube vlog.

Staying safe online

If you’re put off by media scare stories about scammers and infamous “princes” making their way into your private emails and getting hold of personal information, the tips below will help keep your data safe while you’re online:

  • Use strong passwords, and don’t use the same password for everything. Consider a password manager to keep track of all your passwords.
  • Don’t be rushed into anything you see online – pop up notifications and spam emails are designed to create a sense of urgency that isn’t there. Don’t be rushed into clicking on anything – in the majority of cases you’ll have plenty of time to thoroughly read everything before making a decision.
  • Never give out your full bank account details, ever (online or offline). Even when logging into your online banking you’ll never be asked for your full details or pin number, so remember never to hand them out to anyone.
  • If you’re concerned about keeping your photos private on social media, use their built-in privacy settings and set your profiles to private.
  • If you are ever unsure of anything, ask! Over half of Britain says the internet is allowing the younger generation to teach older generations – another example of tech bridging the generation gap.

So, what are you waiting for?! Sign up, log in, and get sharing!

Hannah Waters

Hannah Waters is a freelance writer living and working in London. With a keen interest in the changes to culture and society since the technological revolution, she is passionate about examining the benefits tech can bring to our daily lives, and also about challenging social stereotypes.

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