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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 September 2005, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Kids to teach elderly net skills
Photo of a young child teaching an older woman to use a computer
Children are said to be best placed to give grandparents net skills
Young people are being encouraged to take on the role of internet trainer to help their grandparents get online.

Telco giant BT is marking Grandparents Day on 24 September by asking children to become "internet rangers".

The company believes that young people are in the best position to prevent their grandparents from becoming digitally excluded.

By 2025, 23 million adults could be missing out on what the internet has to offer, according to BT.

A special website has been launched with tools, advice and activities to assist children to help their grandparents to get the most from the internet.

"With the internet becoming the communication tool of choice for fundamental services like medical information and education, the digitally excluded will be significantly disadvantaged when trying to access services and information," said BT head of digital inclusion, Mike Hughes.


The company is working alongside government and other commercial partners to reach out to people who currently have no internet access.

BT says it identified children - particularly young teenagers - as being the most effective advocates to encourage reluctant grandparents to go online.

New skills

Its research shows that nearly a third of parents and grandparents had been encouraged to surf the net by a child aged between 13 and 16.

But even younger children are apparently playing a role in educating their seniors: BT says nearly 20% had learnt a new skill following help from a five to eight-year-old.

"It's wonderful to see the generations united through technology," said Mr Hughes.

"It's a real morale boost for young people as they assume the role of teacher and mentor, and to the older generation the internet can open up a whole new world where hobbies and interests can be explored."

"They can keep in touch with friends and family and, of course, prove that it's never too late to learn a new skill."

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