First Click internet campaign backed by Norfolk woman
The computer is your servant and not your master
A Norfolk woman is backing a new national BBC campaign, First Click, to help people conquer their fears of using computers and getting online.
Joanna Strangwayes-Booth, 69, has been using computers since her thirties and recently launched an online blog.
She's adding her voice to the campaign to encourage people to benefit from the opportunities going online can offer.
"I think people who haven't gone online would be completely amazed by how it changes life," said Joanna.
There are 9.2m adults in the UK who have never used the internet, with 60% of people aged over 65 having never gone online.
First Click aims to give people who have little or no experience of computers the confidence to use them.
"A lot of people are going to have to start using the internet to pay bills and the important thing is not to be frightened," said Joanna, who lives in Kettlestone, near Fakenham.
The BBC campaign, which launched on 11 October 2010, is set to continue throughout 2011 and 2012 to open-up the online world to more people.
"The computer is your servant and not your master," said Joanna, who was a deputy editor of Good Housekeeping magazine and has also written a book about South African anti-apartheid campaigner Helen Suzman and her political party.
The grandmother-of-five uses her laptop to do her banking and shopping but finds it particularly useful in keeping track of her family who are spread out across the world.
WHO IS ONLINE?
9.2 million adults have never used the internet
There are 40m internet users in the UK
Men are more likely than women to be online
In the East of England 23% of people have no internet access
60% of over 65s have never been online
Only 1% of 16 to 24-year-olds have never been online
The number of people who have never used the internet has almost halved between 2006 and 2010
Source: Office for National Statistics
"I'm on Facebook as are many of my contemporaries and I find it easy to follow what my children and nieces and nephews are doing," said Joanna.
"One of my daughters, Emma, lives in Paris so I use Skype's video calls so I can see my grandson."
Joanna also thinks her knowledge of computers enables her to keep up with her grandchildren and understand them better.
"I watch with interest how the little ones use computers like Nintendo DS - it is their world," she said.
With Joanna so keen to remain in-step with all the possibilities the web has to offer, she recently launched her own blog after her daughter Alex, who works for the BBC, suggested the idea.
"I'm going to blog about my views as I'm cross about various things," said Joanna. "I plan to update it every week so it doesn't become too much to keep up with."
Joanna hopes her story will help inspire more people to face their fears, and if you have a friend or relative who you think could benefit from advice or one of the BBC's free courses then they can call the free phone line, 08000 150 950.
Celebrities including Sir Terry Wogan, Gloria Hunniford and Stuart Hall are backing the campaign.