Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Introducing Your Grandparents to the Internet

The high school class of 2013 was born in 1995. They are digital natives, having spent their entire lives with Internet service and access. Their grandparents, though, can still remember a time before cell phones, before the personal computer and even before VCRs.

Yet, older generations can benefit greatly from having Internet access and you can help introduce your grandparents — or any distinguished person in your life — to the benefits of the Internet.

Staying Connected

The Internet offers all generations the chance to connect with each other. Grandparents can especially appreciate this service the Internet offers as younger generations often move away from home and the opportunity to visit in person might be rare. 

Through the Internet, families can stay connected through social media like Facebook or Instagram, video chatting applications like Skype or FaceTime, or even through basic email. Older generations can also stay connected or even reconnect with friends from long ago.

Information is Power

Americans are living longer today than ever before, but that also means the older generation is charting new territory and breaking new ground when it comes to issues like health care, retirement savings, and aging gracefully.
Having Internet service puts information and resources at your grandparents' fingertips. They can access information about programs like Medicare or Social Security, rather than visit overcrowded offices or wait on hold for an operator. They can also access resources like Web MD or online communities and blogs dedicated to issues that most affect them.

Budget Friendly

Many older Americans may have chosen to forego Internet service out of concern for the cost, especially seniors living on a fixed income. However, Internet access doesn't break the bank and can actually save money.
In signing up for services, some seniors may find savings in bundling other services they use like phone or cable. Internet access can also help them find more resources from the comfort of their homes, cutting down on transportation costs or even the costs of goods like medications and groceries.

Making it Work

If you have convinced your grandparents of the benefits of Internet access, it's important to help them become successful Internet users. Here are a few tips to follow.

  • Be patient: This is new technology that takes time to learn. Don't take the mouse away or do things for the senior in your life. Learning takes practice.

  • Encourage exploration: Some seniors might fear they could "break" the Internet by doing something wrong. Rarely, though, does any Internet user truly make such fatal errors. Encourage them to explore pull down menus, settings and links, and show them how to "undo" or reset a computer back to factory settings.

  • An ounce of prevention: The Internet has spawned an entire predatory industry of spammers, viruses and other malware. Walk your grandparent through a basic Internet safety website and teach them to be wary of those offers that sound too good to be true.

Internet service has the power to make a significant difference in the quality of life of older Americans. Help a distinguished person in your life enjoy the benefits and advantages of Internet service.

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