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You're Never Too Old to Learn About the Internet

Updated on March 17, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Science graduate and business advisor, health educator and author, Beth writes articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Senior using a tablet computer.
Senior using a tablet computer. | Source

The Internet is Useful

The world is changing quickly. Today’s kids are often better and more confident at using modern computers and cell phones than their elders. It can be tempting for seniors to ignore modern technology and rely on older, outdated ways of doing things. However, once they find out that computers can make their lives easier, they become enthusiastic “silver surfers”.

Youngsters can help teach older folk how to surf the web, but information flows both ways. Kids usually benefit from having some one-on-one time with their grandparents and they can learn all about the "olden days".

The video below is a jokey introduction to silver surfers and staying safe online. It was produced for the UK children's TV channel CBBC by the Horrible Histories team.

Horrible Histories: Safe Surfing For Young and Old

Are your grandparents silver surfers?

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An Internet Connection Makes Shopping a Breeze

Shopping online for groceries can be a boon to anyone who is housebound or who finds walking difficult. They can fill their shopping basket whilst sitting in the comfort of their own home. They can enlarge the print on the screen so that it is easy to read. Best of all the delivered shopping can be carried right into their kitchen and placed onto their work top by a helpful delivery driver.

I have written a short story (below) about a small boy who helps his elderly grandmother discover internet grocery shopping. In it, a child learns about doorstep milk deliveries through his grandma’s reminiscing. The grandmother in turn learns about the usefulness of the internet. It is intended to be read aloud to pre-school children or they can read it for themselves.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll read you a story.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll read you a story. | Source

No Milk In The Fridge (a tale of young and old)

Grandma was grumpy. James didn’t like it when his grandma was cranky. “There’s no milk left in the fridge,” she said. “No milk for my cup of tea. And it’s no use you telling me there’s a store on the corner. I can’t go there to get some. Not with these legs. And you’re too young to go on your own.”

James liked his grandma. She had one of those creasy, because they’re happy kind of faces. She always had time for him. She liked to play the same games as he did; snakes and ladders, snap and happy families. She didn’t win half as often as his elder brother did. Yes, he liked his grandma very much indeed. She was always at home when they called to visit. In fact, she didn’t seem to go out much at all.

“It’s my legs, you see,” she told him “I’m getting older and they don’t work as well they did.” She liked to put her feet up resting comfortably on her foot-stool. “In the good old days, milk was put on the doorstep. Every morning, rain or shine,” she said. “The milkman came really early before any of us woke up.”

Traditional British Dairy Crest electric milk float.
Traditional British Dairy Crest electric milk float. | Source

Ghostly Milkman Tiptoes Along The Street

James tried to imagine a ghostly milkman tip-toeing down the street so as not to wake anyone. No, it seemed unlikely that such a person ever existed. His forehead frowned with concentration. “But grandma’s problem of no fresh milk definitely does exist,” he thought. And he didn’t like having a grumpy grandma.

He went to play on his computer for a bit. Grandma said she didn’t understand how they worked. “But if it keeps you occupied for an hour then it can’t be such a bad thing,” she said. “Besides, I like to watch you sitting there, sharing my busyness. I knit, you surf, you keep me young with all your computer wizardry you do.”

James liked his computer. He used it for all sorts of things. He played games on it. He wrote messages to his friends on it. He knew how to send e-mails on it too. Sometimes, he found pictures on it that he could use to add to his school project work. Suddenly he had an idea.

Boy searching for information online.
Boy searching for information online. | Source

The Internet Solves Grandma's Problem

“Grandma, come and look at this web page with me,” he said. He stood up as tall as he could. He felt very important. He was going to help grandma solve her problem. He led grandma over to the computer and sat down with her next to him. A few clicks of the mouse and grandma’s favorite supermarket was on the screen. “Well I never,” she said.

“Look you can have fresh milk and anything else you want delivered right to your door,” James said. “Well I never,” she said again, and the corners of her mouth started to twitch upwards into a smile. James grinned back at his grandma. “Well I do,” he said, and giggled. Grandma was grumpy no longer!

“Why don’t I order some milk and groceries?” she said “I could put that new book you wanted on the list too.” James had his smiling grandma back again. What a relief. It was just like the good old days once more.


Cyber-Seniors Go Internet Surfing

One of the best guides to getting started on the internet is "Is This Thing On?" by Abby Stokes. Aimed at older readers, it doesn't patronise, but leads you step-by-step to understanding computers. The writing style is clear and jargon-free and suitable for all newbies and technophobes.

The video below shows that wonderful things can happen when young and old help each other. Generation gaps are bridged and friendships forged. The delight of the seniors in this film as they discover the possibilities of the internet proves you're never too old to get cyber-savvy.


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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 17 months ago from SW England

      What a charming story! This is a great mix of old and new which works so well. I must admit I like telling my grandchildren about some of the old things I remember but I do try to stay up-to-date too and if I'm stuck on anything to do with mobile phones/iPads etc then my 14 year old granddaughter is the one to ask!

      Great hub! (shared as was your 'story based on fable' one)


    • gerimcclym profile image

      Geri McClymont 15 months ago from Colorado

      What an informative and heartwarming hub. Not only do you illustrate how using the internet can be helpful to the elderly in that it can help meet their needs, but you also show how the younger generations (in this case, a grandson) can assist the elderly in learning how to use the internet . We need more articles like these to encourage the younger generations to connect with the older ones. Thank you for writing this hub!

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