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The Internet and The Elderly - Precautions

Updated on July 25, 2010

Sometime ago I wrote a Hub on: Looking Younger, while growing older and one of the tips I gave for staying younger was to take up a hobby.

Well, recently my Dad who is over 65 expressed an interest in using the internet. Dad hardly uses the computer. (There is only one in his office which is for his Secretary to help type letters to his Clients).

I was happy about his decision as I read in a survey that "Using a computer can make the older generation feel significantly younger." However, I am worried about Internet Security etc. so I’ve decided to write him a few tips which he can refer to often. I hope these come in handy for other people like me, whose parents hardly use the internet.

Useful Tips

Passwords – Please don’t use passwords with our (your kids) names/date of birth. Use a unique one that you will always remember and if at all you have to write it down, let it be hidden somewhere. Don’t leave it on your desk or under the keyboard.

Frozen Screen – If nothing is happening on your screen no matter what key you press, reboot it by pressing down “Ctrl” and “Alt” together (with your left hand) then press “delete” with your right hand. Then press "enter" when you are prompted to restart. The computer will restart.

Winning Money – If you receive an email about winning Millions of £$, Please don’t be quick to offer Thanks giving in church. There is a 99.9% chance it’s a scam. Be careful about such such emails. Also, don’t click on any "pop-ups" (usually small windows with unwanted advertisements), indicating you have won an Audi car or money. They can be Malicious.

Emails from Banks - Dad, if you receive an email from a bank requesting details. Be cautious when you click on the link, ensure the bank’s address is still showing in the bar. If it’s showing another address after clicking on the "www.Link", then don't proceed. See below for Barclays bank. Notice the address at the top (with little logo)

Eye Strain – Its important that for every hour you spend on the computer you have a ten minute break to avoid Eye strain or migraines.

Losing your work/comments – If in the middle of typing something long, it all disappears, P/s don’t panic. To get it back – hold down “ctrl” and press “Z” (This is the “undo” command and it will bring back your work).

On a positive note. You can find any information you want on the internet - any topic. For now stick to and type in whatever you want to know about in the search bar: See example below: Note where I typed in “legal breaking news”. It will come up with lots of useful websites/info. As you get confident, try other sites/web engines.



Changing Passwords – I know how polite you are and I’m sure if someone's standing close to you while you are typing in a password, you wouldn’t tell them to move away. If this happens, once they’ve left, change the password. (people are clever, they might be smiling at you, but their brains could have registered the password)

Oh Dad and by the way, Family photos If you want any of our photo’s on your computer screen.

  • Open the photo.
  • Right Click on your Mouse.
  • Select: "Set as Desk Top Background" (left click on mouse). See details below on my photo at Brighton Beach.

Call me if you are not sure about anything and I’ll explain the rest to you when I see you. Love you Loads, Elena x

More info:

So, dear readers – is there anything else you think I should add to this list or have you got any internet experiences to share? Thank you.



Thanks for your response – Here are some additional tips you have given:

  • Be wary of emails with attachments from unknown senders as this is still a popular way to transmit a computer virus. Internet security and firewalls are better at preventing this than they used to be, but it is still wise not to open an email attachment if the source is unknown. (Mike Lickteig).
  • The prnt scrn(print screen) key will copy what you see on your monitor to the clipboard (just like copy and paste). You can open the resulting image in a picture editor, like PAINT which comes with windows to see the result. Don’t worry if it seems like nothing happened - its there in your clipboard! (
  • Be careful when typing i.e when pressing the buttons – particularly the “shift” and “Ctrl” keys. (Allan Douglas).
  • Use a family filter like opendns to filter out access to bad sites.(jstankevicz)


* Get Traffic and earnings for posting Hub links or photo's at Redgage. Join me: Redgage.


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    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Hi ToriaCity

      The font can be increased and there are a lot of interesting things online for people of all ages. There are some photos and articles on the internet that can make you laugh until you cry.

      There is useful info about Health.

      You can watch very old music on Youtube - all the people you loved in the 60s 70s.

      You can make friends.

      You can play games.

      You can have virtual tours of places for holidays. etc

      If you are in London and not too far away from me, I can give you a FREE hours lesson......(I am an IT Trainer and give Private tuition) then your friends and family will not be able to get you off it - because you will always be online.

      Thanks for stopping. :)

    • profile image

      toriacity 6 years ago

      hello ladyE, what will prompt the senior citizen to use the internet... some complain of the tiny font and others complain about it being boring.....

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Thanks Suny - Nice of you to visit. :)

      ** Cheers Peggy - I'm glad you found it useful.

      .... and thanks to Mike Lickteig.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks to Mike Lickteig who retweeted this hub, I found you. Great article! Definitely rating this useful. Thanks!

    • profile image

      suny 7 years ago

      Nice and useful tips,happy to follow them.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Hello losthere - I'm glad you've started using the computer. I hope the first time was a good experience. If I can be of any further help, drop me an email.

      Also, regarding forums - you could get involved in the friendly threads for now. You could even start a thread of your own. Just post a question or thought and hopefully you will receive lots of positive responses.

      The site is about writing articles of interest for people to read. Some write for money, some write for pleasure and some both. Good Luck. :)

      ** Thanks Software blast. Regards.

    • profile image

      software blast 7 years ago

      great HUB, good tips for another

    • profile image

      losthere 7 years ago

      I am a older person and my first time was yesterday.

      Very new at a computer.

      I was very thankful for your piece.

      Who would have though we would have these tools to communicate with.

      Don't know what I'm doing on this yet but with the help of people like you it makes it a little easier.

      It looks like a lot of debating on most of the forms not sure what this sight is all about but thank you for the information it was very helpful.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Hello Tom - I'm glad you now enjoy the internet. Its also good that it was a while ago when there weren't so many scams. I'm sure you are very comfortable with it now and no one can pull the wool over your eyes. The ASCCA is a brilliant idea. Thanks for stopping.

      ** Hello Phil - I hope you get a positive response and they take into account the whole situation. A lot of times, its just print - when you talk to them, they resolve things amicably. Best Wishes.

    • Phil.S profile image

      Phil.S 7 years ago

      Great topical hub as two weeks ago BBC reported majority of new internet users were over 65 - good for them. I've just spent the an hour trying to sort out my Mother's Damart account - she agreed to go paperless with online bills then forgot to log-in for 4 months to pay and now they are taking action! Oh, the joys!!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Hello Support Med - I hope he enjoys it too. Nice to see you. :)

      ** Thanks always exploring - Glad you found it useful. Thanks for stopping. :)

      ** Cheers Philipo - lovely to read from you. :)

      ** Hello M T Dremer - I'm so glad you do that. It's always nice to show them so they can be confident and do it on their own. Some of the people I worked with in IT Training Centres would press so many keys and it would seem like magic. Sadly, some elderly people feel reluctant to ask what they did. (and they are non the wiser) I like your style. :)

      ** Good to know Dr Cris. Nice of you to visit. :)

    • Tusitala Tom profile image

      Tom Ware 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Good stuff! I'm seventy-four and although I've been able to use a computer in a limited way (mainly as a word processor, saving docs, etc.) never got into the Internet sie of things until about four years ago. Terrific! I love it.

      There are, of course, many seniors' organizations out there who will teach oldies how to use a computer. In Australia we have, ASCCA, a parent body for well over a hundred local computer pals (for seniors clubs) I expect most countries would have something similar, so if people do choose to learn about the Internet and the WWW, there are a lot of resources around.

    • drcrischasse profile image

      drcrischasse 7 years ago from NH/Foxboro

      Great hub. I can use this with my parents

    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 7 years ago from United States

      There is definitely a lot of stuff that is easy to forget when trying to get someone on the internet who has never been there. I answer computer questions all the time and I take for granted that a lot of these people didn't grow up with the internet. I could click on the file menu and select print and they have no idea what I've just done. I slow it down and they still say I'm going too fast. So it is important to remember these things when helping them out. Writing down a step by step process really helps, so you're hub is a great resource.

    • Philipo profile image

      Philipo 7 years ago from Nigeria

      Very thoughtful hub. The points are useful for me now and in the future. Thanks for sharing.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I am so pleased, i just found this and it will be a great help to me,

      Thank you

      I saved it, put it in favotites

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 7 years ago from Michigan

      This is such a sweet and thoughtful hub for your dad (and you). Hope he'll enjoy the internet (and HP!!). I have learned as well. Peace!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      Hi Lorlie - Oh... you're still young. Sorry to hear about your experience. Government should introduce a law to deal with these scammers. Lots of people are still falling into their fraudulent traps.

      Anyway, stay safe and ensure you have some security on your pc. Ensure "pop ups" are disabled.

      At the top of your screen, Click "Tools", then select "pop up blocker" and ensure it is set to "turn on pop up blocker".

      Best Wishes. :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Although I'm not elderly yet-I am 53-I have fallen for some of these scams: phishing and the promise of money from overseas. The phishing incident resulted in the loss of my email, which I've worked hard to restore with a new address. I was thankfully suspicious at the email promising cash, so I replied that I'd sic my lawyer on them if it wasn't true!

      I've bookmarked this hub, Elena, because all of these tips are important to a new computer user as well-I bought my first one only a year ago and need all the advice I can get.

      Wonderful hub-thank you.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Thanks for your comments, Fgual - it gladens my heart too seeing seniors using, computers. Brilliant. Nice of you to drop by. Regards.

      ** Hello Deborrah - thanks for your warm comments. Hope you are having a relaxing weekend. Best Wishes.

      ** Cheers Stars439 - He's the greatest Dad. Thanks so much for stopping. Hope your leg is much better now. Regards. :)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Thanks for your warm comments Rossimobis. Hope your learners are behaving themsleves. :) Regards.

      ** Hi jstankevicz, thanks for the family filter Tip. Those pop ups can be very malicious and corrupt the whole pc. Thanks for stopping.

      ** Aaawh K9Keystrokes - He's probably heard so much about it and dosen't want any hassle. I hope he gradually warms to the idea of using one. Best Wishes.

      ** Hello Joni - it's nice to know your Dad is using the email facility. Thanks for sharing this Hub. Regards.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very sweet to help your father. God Bless You. Great tips.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Lady E, Wonderful helpful hub! What a thoughtful daughter! Your dad has a great teacher to help him out and encourage him! Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Peace & Blessings!

    • FGual profile image

      FGual 7 years ago from USA

      Hello LadyE Glad that your father is taking to the internet, good for him. He is lucky to have you guide him through the labyrinth where potential booby-traps can we waiting to snare the gullible. I am impressed when I go to the public library and see senior citizens so happy to be navigating the internet.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Thanks Hubpages Writer. Regards.

      ** Glad you found it useful, Coffeesnob. Thanks for stopping.

      ** Hi Wrath - Glad you found a trick in there. Take Care.

      ** Hello Allan - Aaah bless! Hopefully she'll be typing a bit slower now after those incidents. I hope she is still enjoying using computers. Thanks for sharing those comments.

      ** Thanks Roy - I will encourage him. Hope all is well with you. Shuku ria. :)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Thanks Mike, for that added tip. I hope to edit the Hub to reflect it later. Wow, your mum must be enjoying YouTube because it has a lot of hilarious videos. Glad you stopped by... and thanks for sharing it with your mum:)

      ** Thanks so much Hello, Hello. Hope all is well. :)

      ** Thanks rgarnett - you might think they didn't hear you. but I'm sure they did. lol. Don't give up. :)

      ** That's an excellent Tip Psychic dog - Again, I will edit the Hub to reflect this so it benefits every one. Cheers and good luck.

      ** Thanks for stopping Tony - I noted your comments about your Birthday which will be today 24 July. Have a Happy Birthday. I posted a birthday thread for you in Forums and some Hubbers have left you some Birthday Wishes. Regards. :)

    • Joni Douglas profile image

      Joni Douglas 7 years ago

      What a great idea and a great hub! My dad is just learning to use the computer too. He emails mostly. I will share your tips with him.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      Very thoughtful hub. My dad is at that age where the computer kind of scares him, but this hub may well be just the thing to easy his mind and open it at the same time! Good job here.

    • jstankevicz profile image

      jstankevicz 7 years ago from Cave Creek

      Great topic Lady_E. Glad you were interested in making your Dad’s experience better. I’D also consider using a family filter like opendns to filter out access to bad sites. Not because you need to or should censor Dad’s Internet use. A good filter will make a Google search less likely to result in a bad landing with porn popups, possible malware links, etc. Glad you added the “on a positive note” since most people love the information potential of searching once they figure it out.

    • Rossimobis profile image

      Chibuzo Melvin Mobis 7 years ago from Biafra

      This is not just tips on how to go about but a great awareness on what is really happening over the internet...great hub and as usual,full of humors.

      One love sis...

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

      The age of 65 is not a very old age for a person who can not use an internet if I can, a man of 69. You must encourage your Dad to use internet.

    • Allan Douglas profile image

      Allan Douglas 7 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

      Good helpful hints, Lady E. Since you ask, my offering is that they be carefull as they type. I got my Mom active on a computer a few yaers ago and now she feels pretty confident, but she types too fast and her fingers are not as nimble as she thinks. She has "blown it up" a number of times by holding the CTRL key instead of the shift key as she types and inadvertently entered a control-key combination that works a strange and mystical spell on the inner workings of her processor.

    • Wrath Warbone profile image

      Terry Chestnutt 7 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      I did not know the frozen screen trick. That's a good one. Thanks.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Hi Andromida, those "winning" emails can be tempting especially when they put your name on. lol. Thanks for stopping. Enjoy your weekend. :)

      ** Aaaawh - that's nice Billy. I'm glad you found it useful. I hope your Dad is enjoying using the Internet. Regards.

      ** Cheers Nikipa - Thanks so much for stopping. :)

      ** Good to know WildIris - it will keep her occupied and open up a whole new world to her. Best Wishes.

      ** Hi Unchainedgrace - you brought back some memories. I remember that "Lotus 123" early 90s. It's sad to read about the insurance scams and reverse mortgage deals etc. Glad you found the Hub useful and hope all is well with your Ministry. Nice to see you again.

      ** Cheers MickS - A pleasure to see you.

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 7 years ago


      Great hub and good tips. I didn't know about the control Z. I learned something new...thanks

      Be blessed


    • profile image

      hubpageswriter 7 years ago

      A very good topic, I must say.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      ** Good to know Matt6 - I will be visiting your Blog. Thanks. :)

      ** Cheers Mentalist Acer. :)

      ** That's nice to know JDove-Miller. I hope your internet business is going well. :)

      ** Happyher - Wow! that's very encouraging. Thanks for mentioning me, I will check out the Hub. Regards. :)

      ** Hi Dreamreachout - you know how we girls love our Babuji's. lol. Thanks again for visiting. Best Wishes. :)

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

      Thank you for the tips my dear Lady. I am turning 50 tomorrow so I might need the help.

    • profile image 7 years ago

      Thanks Elena, this info is especially relevant to a site I wrote which displays computer tips (with the older generation in mind) - there are a few here I didn't have. Here's one for you the prnt scrn(print screen) key will copy what you see on your monitor to the clipboard (just like copy and paste). You can open the resulting image in a picture editor, like PAINT which comes with windows to see the result. Dont worry if it seems like nothing happened - its there in your clipboard!

    • rgarnett profile image

      Rachael Fields 7 years ago from KC, MO

      This is an awesome hub. I have tried and tried to get this across to the older generation that I work with. I am kind of the .. IT guru for them and its somewhat frustrating. You laid it out in a simple format.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      That is very sweet of you to write all these warnings in such a lovely way.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      Hi, Elena. You have provided a lot of good information for the elderly to safely navigate computers and the Internet. My mother is 81 and has recently discovered YouTube and a few other sites. If I were to add anything, it would be to be wary of emails with attachments from unknown senders as this is still a popular way to transmit a computer virus. Internet security and firewalls are better at preventing this than they used to be, but it is still wise not to open an email attachment if the source is unknown.

      This is very handy and I will bookmark this hub to show my mother.


    • MickS profile image

      MickS 7 years ago from March, Cambridgeshire, England

      Excellent stuff, Elena.



    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Many years ago, when the 486 was the king of processors, I taught my grandmother how to use Lotus for DOS to develop spreadsheets on computer. She had been employed for a longtime at a bank and was very familiar with hardcopy longsheet spreads. Elena, My grandmother never did use the Internet but it was back when message boards and bulletin boards were the thing.

      The elderly, unfortunately, become the target especcially of health and life insurance scams in addition to reverse mortgage deals which cause them to lose their home if not careful. We do have elderly in our church who jump on the Net occassionally so this would be an excellent assist for them. Thanks!

    • profile image

      WildIris 7 years ago

      Excellent! My mother-in-law is just being her journey into the wide world of the internet, and I'm sure she will benefit from these tips. Thanks.

    • nikipa profile image

      nikipa 7 years ago from Eastern Europe

      Amazing work! Thank you for sharing it with us!

      Probably it is one of the best way to show your care and love for your father!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Excellent tips hear I need to pass this on to more older relatives - my Dad spends a fair bit of time on it and this has some great tips thanks :)

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 7 years ago

      Excellent hub.Very few people write hub on how elderly people might use Internet safely.Winning Money type emails are so so attractive that I also can't resist myself opening this type of email.Thanks Elena :)

    • profile image

      dreamreachout 7 years ago

      Wonderful .. Wonderful!! Apart from the factual importance and relevance of this hub, it is a fabulous way of a daughter showing her love, affection and concern for her father!! You are a wonderful daughter and your "Babuji" must be proud of you!! :)

    • HappyHer profile image

      Tracy Morrow 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      This a great hub! My grandparents are 90 and still learning about the internet, so this will be helpful for then.

      By the way, I was just talking about you! I mentioned you at my 100th hub

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      A great Hub for any Newbie young or old Lady_E;)

    • profile image

      jdove-miller 7 years ago

      Good tips. Even I learned something-how to retrieve lost typing. Thanks.

    • matt6v33 profile image

      matt6v33 7 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      great job, on this young lady... for i too, recently have encouraged a 87 y/o husband and wife, to begin. also i'm mindful of when viewing the URL, ie. http: if there is a "S" after the "p", its a real secure add, however with out it, its not!

      good write up missy.. Keep Sharing ok? We all need it!

      fyi: my recent "Food For Thought"