Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Tuesday, 18 October 2011 09:45 UK

Top tips for helping someone get online

School Reporter Georgia with her grandad Henry
Georgia and her grandad Henry worked together to research his youthful hang-outs from the 1950s

With the clocks going back at the end of October, we'll all have an extra hour in our days.

The Give An Hour campaign is trying to encourage people to spend the hour showing someone how to use the internet for the first time.

School Reporter Georgia, 13 from Plantsbrook School in Sutton Coldfield successfully showed her grandad how to use the internet earlier this year.

She explains how the experience was for her and offers tips for other young people looking to help older prople get online.

By Georgia, 13

In February I helped out on a course to help older people learn some computer skills and use the internet. My grandad attended and I showed him how to get online.

My grandad really enjoyed the course and found it very interesting to learn this new skill. He said he was definitely going to be buying a computer in the near future.

I also found this course very interesting as I got to review the techniques of using the computer and enjoyed teaching them to my grandad.

Being involved in the School Report program to get senior citizens online has increased my own interest in computers and shown me the advantages of this modern technology.

Also, as more and more information is being stored online, I am beginning to need to use it more than ever before, so it was very useful.

If you're thinking of "giving an hour" to help an older person get online, here are some tips from me, my classmates and from other School Reporters:


It's important to find out what kind of topics or uses for the internet interest the person you're teaching.

Whether it's the latest about their favourite pop star, football club or TV programme or something more practical like how to find out a train timetable, you need to show how getting online can be a positive thing.

If people can see the benefits, they'll be much more likely to take an interest.


Be prepared to be patient. Many older people have never tried to use a computer before.

It is easy to assume everyone has some knowledge of computers and how to use them, but in practice they are completely alien to many older people.

It might be something as seemingly straightforward as using a mouse, but it's not straightforward if you've never done it before!

Just like learning any new skill, it usually takes a bit of time.


Show them the basics slowly and repeat a few times so they remember it.

Don't forget, younger people might pick up new concepts quicker than older ones.

And don't make things too technical - keep it simple!


Never use complicated computer language like modem or hyperlink, as it will mean nothing to them if they have just started... and might even scare them off altogether!


Show them the advantages of using the computer, then let them see that they can manage on their own.

But keep your eye on them just in case they go wrong.


Once they get the hang of things, encourage them to buy their own computer.

Having to wrestle a pensioner for control of your mouse is never going to end well!

Getting gran online
18 Oct 11 |  School Report First Click


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