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Sunday, 2 February, 2003, 08:45 GMT
Grandmother discovers joy of text
Old woman using a keyboard
Silver surfers are being replaced by silver SMSers
A text-mad great-grandmother has proved that SMS is no longer the preserve of the younger generation.

Betty Turner, a 78-year-old from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, regularly uses text messaging as a way of keeping in touch with her children and grandchildren.

She also keeps up to date with her finances with regular text alerts showing her bank balance.

"Text messaging is a wonderful way for me to keep in touch with my daughters and grand-daughters," said Mrs Turner.

Power of text

"I don't like to disturb them when they are busy working, but with a text message they can read and respond to it when they're ready," she added.

Betty Turner
I prefer it to calling

Betty Turner
She has found texting useful when she is out shopping as well.

"My daughter helped me to pick out a shirt for my son-in-law, whilst shopping, all through the power of text," she said.

The SMS revolution is gathering speed with 52 million text messages sent daily during December, double the number sent at the same time in 2000.

Messaging is no longer just about communicating with friends. Companies offer a variety of services, including sports results, news and weather, cinema and theatre reviews, traffic updates and flirting.

Banks are also offering customers the chance to check their balances via their mobile phones. First Direct bank has 200,000 text bankers, of which 16% are over 50.

Predictive texting tools have also meant it is quicker and easier to send a message.

"I used to text things in shorthand but now I've learned how to use the predictive texting tool, I can use full words and send messages much more quickly and easily. Really, I prefer it to calling," said Mrs Turner.

Information source

Text.it, an information site about text messaging set up by the Mobile Data Association, is now on the look-out for the UK's oldest text messenger.

"It's not only the younger generation that realises the benefits which SMS has to offer," said MDA spokesperson Kate Marriot.

"We are seeing an increasing number of people from the older generation starting to use text."

"They are obtaining information such as cricket scores, theatre events and show times and holiday information, such as weather reports and days out," she added .

See also:

29 Jan 03 | Technology
27 Jan 03 | dot life
18 Jan 03 | England
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