Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Silver Surfers’ Day 2010 – but why should older people bother with the internet?

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Today is Silver Surfers’ Day 2010.

Silver Surfers’ Day has been running since 2002 and is all about helping older people to get online.

But why should older people want to get online? They see names like Facebook and Twitter bandied around in the news in subjects such as online privacy. They are concerned about their own online privacy, about computer viruses and essentially, can’t see a need for them to use Facebook or Twitter anyway. In fact, they still don’t really know what they are.

So how can the internet actually be of benefit to older people?

There are a whole host of financial and social reasons.

1. Save money

Find bargains online; many things are a lot cheaper if you buy them online than if you buy them in a shop or, in the case of insurance, over the phone. Often items such as insurance policies carry a discount if you buy online. e.g.

  • Get cheaper electricity and gas by having your account online.
  • Get the best savings rates in online savings accounts, have better access and control of your money.
  • Find the cheapest products – books, CDs and everything else you can think of, at sites such as Amazon and eBay.
  • Use price comparison websites for shopping, insurance, utilities etc.
  • Find rare or unusual items or simply a wider variety of goods that you might not find in your town centre.
  • Booking holidays and travel online.
  • Cheap phone calls – e.g. make computer to computer phone calls via Skype across the world.

2. Convenience

  • Being able to buy goods online such as large items or even your weekly shopping and have them delivered to your door.
  • Renewing your car tax and many other procedures takes less than 5 minutes online.
  • iPlayer and other services let you watch TV programmes again.

3. Communication

Joining a social network online is a great way of meeting new, like-minded people. Online community sites and forums are great places to chat to people who have the same hobbies or past-times, or are interested in the same cause.

Sites such as Friends Reunited or Facebook can allow you to find old friends, family members and school mates you might not have seen for many years.

Some people find social networking tools a great way to stay in touch with their family, to share photos and videos, no matter how many miles separate them.

Email is also a quick, effective and sometimes less stressful way of getting in touch with companies, councils and other organisations. It is also cheaper for them to answer an email than to take a phone call, so they may be more willing to do so.

4. Get answers

Got a problem? Something won’t work? Want to find out how to build/design/learn about/reviews on just about anything? All the information is on the web.

Most people who use the web in their daily lives will find it second nature to check online to see why their phone won’t make calls, why their bread never rises or why their dog likes to eat toilet rolls.

The answer to every question you can think of is probably on the web somewhere, and search engines are getting better and better in finding the things you need. If it isn’t there, there’s bound to be a forum or community where you can post your question and get a plethora of advice.

Being online is like having access to the largest library in the world, the largest network of people, the biggest shopping centre, all the banks and other services you might want to use, the largest travel directory, the biggest reviews centre and amost anything else you can dream of, all from your chair in front of your computer (or your smartphone).


Written by C Kenzie

May 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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