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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Invitation for 'silver surfers'
Seniors citizens learn computer skills
Age Concern wants more older people to use the internet
Older people across the UK are being given the chance to try out the internet to show how technology can be beneficial to their lifestyle.

More than 1,500 IT taster sessions have been set up as part of Age Concern's Silver Surfer Week, organised in conjunction with BT and Microsoft.

Older people will be shown how they can order shopping and services from the comfort of their own home.

A bus, equipped with computers, will also tour UK towns.

A total of 44% of over-50s say they have no access to a computer but, of those that do, most say the benefits far outweigh the costs, according to research by Age Concern, .

Accessing services and doing your shopping online can be a real lifeline for some
Age Concern

Some of the most popular uses of the internet for older users were found to be booking holidays and tracing family histories.

Age Concern director general Gordon Lishman said the internet gave silver surfers a way to pursue hobbies or meet new friends online.

"We will be able to offer older people across the UK the chance to experience the internet, many for the first time.

"Accessing services and doing your shopping online can be a real lifeline for some."

Older and lower income people felt alienated from digital life, according to a report last year by the Independent Consumer Panel for the UK communications watchdog Ofcom.

They felt technology companies were not looking closely at their needs, and older age groups felt particularly frustrated when it came to understanding information they were given about technologies.


Are you a silver surfer? How do you take advantage of the internet? This debate is now closed. Below are a selection of comments received.

I use the internet every day. Mainly to access my banking accounts, and playing games, I also take part on online consumer surveys. Also using Yahoo messenger to speak to my friend in Canada
Anne smith, Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, Scotland

Aged 78yrs..use internet in many ways..conversant with methods..order goods and services etc
anthony hurst, Sandy, Bedfordshire UK

Banking, searching for holiday information, knowledge browsing, e-mail, job search, house search, news, podcasts, listening to radio and streaming TV
Chris Jackson, Sheffield, England

I (73 yr old retired farmer) would not be without the internet (only 512Kbps), using it for banking, shopping, holidays, news, info' and e-mail (great for keeping up with friends here and abroad)and exchanging photo's instantly. Recommended for everyone!
Geoff Wood, Tholthorpe, York, England.

We have only had a computer for a year and we use it mostly to answer questions that come up in conversation, to view the latest news and to look for late availability holidays. We also look for the weather here and in various holiday destinations. If I was unable to go out for shopping I expect I would shop online depending on the cost of this service.
roberta moore, liverpool England

I am over 60 so guess I am a "silver surfer". I use the Interenet to read Overseas newspapers, to get balanced news stories from the BBC, to book flights, to communicate with friends & family, around the world, to do research ( as one would have used Encyclopedia Brittanica Booka in the dim & distant past) on many subjects. I would give up my TV before I would give up my Computer - having said that I do not spent more than 2 hours a day on the computer, I do have a balanced social life!
Marion Searson, Bermuda

Iuse the internet to read e.books download podcasts,online shopping and banking,I am now 66 and have access to broadband, I have had access at home to the internet from 1998.
alex mxpherson, falkirk scotland

I am 57, shop, bank and research online as do my children. My wife uses the internet for researching the family tree. We all use e-mail. I have also got "hooked" on mmporpg which my son introduced me to about 5 years ago, currently playing WOW and love it, it lets me compete against youngsters up to 30 0r 40 years younger than me on a level playing field and even win sometimes!!! We have a home network and I look forward to many more years as a silver surfer
Paul, Bournemouth, England

I didn't know I was, but apparently, being over 50 qualifies me....as I do occasionally publish websites, buy, sell, listen and watch online, and have been accused of "playing" with the computer for too many hours in a day, perhaps I am unusual - ask me again in 30 years, maybe?
Tony Fisk, Over Wallop, UK

As a 54 year old 'silver surfer' I once again see my age group maligned and ridiculed by people who really should know better. It was people in my age group who invented the internet, and who continue to be the very people who provide IT services to most of industry. Far from needing the help of some do-gooders, we really need to stop proliferating the myth that people above 40 are incapable of coherent and creative ideas. Please stop these ridiculous articles, they serve no purpose other than spread the stupid beliefs that nobody over the age of 17 can do anything useful with a PC - in my experience most people of that age who think they can do great stuff with a PC are nigh on useless in reality (unless you call some role playing game ┐reality┐).
Steve Bushell, Malvern Worcestershire

The internet is like an artery to me. It supplies me with all the information, shopping, banking, health advice, phone services. Without it my entire system would collapse
Diana Linden, Andover,

I am 79 and have been using the internet for almost 3 years now since my son set it up for me. It was brought me into contact with lots of new people and interest groups of my own age. I'm also able to order things over the internet which I would have been unthinkable for me just a few years back. The internet has proved a real life line for me and the source of much fun too.
Joyce Baldwin, East London

I am not very good with computers, but thanks to such initiatives, us old folk are getting better!
Courtney McCarthy , London, UK

I surfed the internet before browsers with a program called Quiks pronounced kicks. I think the impression that older people are technophobic is not true. I had a TRS-80 with 16K of memory back in the seventies, ask Alan Sugar about older people and computers, I am 65.
Malcolm Chapman, United Kingdom

Keep in touch with friends and family whom I cannot visit. My husband has found his long lost nephew and niece but not his brother but a reunion is on the cards. Information on all sorts of questions - even How to cook a Haggis! I wouldn't be without it but don't think I need to be on such a high usage option but don't know how to change after the first 12 months.
Syl, Salford, UK

I try to catch up with all the learning that I missed out at school in the 30s & 40s. I read Shakespeare, kings and Queens of England, plus extracts from the Bible. I also book holidays, do all my banking, and read Australian newspapers every day. All this as well as e-mail, what more could a silver surfer want?
derek may, cirencester england

Why is it that i hate the term 'silver Surfer'? Is it just me that finds it patronising? Why is it that I think it was coined by someone under thirty? Where did I put my false teeth? Why did I come upstairs? Oh dear!
Paul Hullock, Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria




SEE ALSO:
Technology 'baffles old and poor'
16 May 05 |  Technology
Dealing with a digital underclass
29 Apr 05 |  Technology
Broadband reveals digital divide
26 Apr 05 |  Technology
Digital divisions tackled head-on
02 Apr 05 |  Technology
Elderly 'need digital TV funds'
24 Nov 04 |  Entertainment


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