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What is the best way to introduce seniors to the internet?

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#1 SimpleComplications

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 22:07

I've always been the tech support in my fairly large family. This often involved trips to a relative's home, 15 minutes of "fixing" the actual problem, and a couple hours of explaining what went wrong and addressing another dozen questions.
 
My most frequent clients to my no-charge IT assistance service are my grandparents, on both sides of the family. I've taught them all how to do computer basics. Things like check email, do their banking online, lookup recipes, and stay safe.
 
I've also done some paid work for their friends who have questions about using a computer, and from some who are complete beginner's to the internet.
 
This got me thinking - what is the most effective way, the path of least resistance, for a senior citizen completely new to computers and the internet, to learn how to enjoy basic internet browsing on their own.
 
I'm doing research right now for an article I'm writing about introducing seniors to the internet, and I would love your thoughts.
 
I also created a strawpoll to answer "What is the best way to introduce seniors to the internet?" with tablets, laptops, and desktops as the possible answers. If you have 10 seconds to help me out, please submit your answer here.
 



#2 Shadrack

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 22:29

Honestly.  iPad with LTE.  Don't even let them manage the occasional reset of router power when the Internet isn't working.  LTE is easier for them if they don't want to do anything but browse the web and check their family's photos on Facebook.



#3 astropheed

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 22:45

In my experience, of which I have quite a bit, the best course of action is to just accept that they'll probably never get it. If you make it easy for them they'll find a way to break that and make it hard again. It's just not intuitive to them like it is to us.

 

Just setup a decently fast machine (they'll have surprisingly little patience) that auto-loads RDP services and Skype. When the issues that will happen, happen, you jump on, fix the problem and be on your way. Don't bother explaining why it happened, you can try but it'll fall on deaf ears. I always explain it anyways but it's futile.

 

They seem to do slightly better with touch devices.... Senior woman overall seem better at it than senior men.



#4 SteveCac

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 09:46

Best way to introduce anyone to the internet is to find out their interests, what they would need the net for, shopping, banking, news etc.

 

Then keep it simple, switch on PC or Laptop after clearing the dust, open browser, click on favourites and do what they need to do, then shutdown.

 

If it is outside their interest they dont need to know.

 

Of course if the interest is reading then a tablet is best, so my vote goes to all 3.



#5 Nick H.

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:28

My grandparents had a computer and it was rarely used. My grandmother recently got an iPad, and due to us being so far away from her, she has really jumped on board with the communication aspects such as Facetime.

They have to want to get involved. As I've learnt plenty of times with my sister, if you don't want to know how to do something on a computer then the information just won't go in, regardless of how many times you repeat yourself. Perseverance and willingness is the key, and this is true regardless of age.

For someone joining the internet for the first time, I would probably introduce them to email, their web browser, Google and Stumbleupon so that they can easily find things that will interest them at the beginning. Something like Facebook really depends on how involved their friends are with computers.

I'll think about the question a bit more - the above was just off the top of my head - and maybe come up with some other things that could help someone on the Internet.

#6 GotBored

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:40

Put an adult website in their favorites, they'll figure it out themselves cause they wouldn't want you looking over their shoulder.

 

Or when they ask you about the internet be like 'Internet? whats that?' and pretend you know nothing of the sorts. Teaching older generation how to use the internet is one of the most futile and repetitive tasks you will do in your lifetime.



#7 xrobwx

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:46

 

I've always been the tech support in my fairly large family. This often involved trips to a relative's home, 15 minutes of "fixing" the actual problem, and a couple hours of explaining what went wrong and addressing another dozen questions.
 
My most frequent clients to my no-charge IT assistance service are my grandparents, on both sides of the family. I've taught them all how to do computer basics. Things like check email, do their banking online, lookup recipes, and stay safe.
 
I've also done some paid work for their friends who have questions about using a computer, and from some who are complete beginner's to the internet.
 
This got me thinking - what is the most effective way, the path of least resistance, for a senior citizen completely new to computers and the internet, to learn how to enjoy basic internet browsing on their own.
 
I'm doing research right now for an article I'm writing about introducing seniors to the internet, and I would love your thoughts.
 
I also created a strawpoll to answer "What is the best way to introduce seniors to the internet?" with tablets, laptops, and desktops as the possible answers. If you have 10 seconds to help me out, please submit your answer here.

 

I am in the exact same position. I installed the free version of Teamviewer. It works like a charm. No more trips to the homes i just log in from my house. Of course we all have fast connections so it's a pleasant experience. 

I got my Mom & Dad a computer years ago but my Dad still seems to be a "rookie" at it. I remember introducing it though. I set it up and spent several hours with them showing the basics. Now, I just setup the best protection I can find and manage by Teamviewer.



#8 Showan

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:46

Give them a tablet first and let them start there.

A somewhat walled garden, will let them get comfortable with the basics, web, search, email.

Then when they feel comfortable with that, and want to get "dangerous" :-). U can intro them to a laptop.

#9 Blueclub

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 11:59

I think the best way for the seniors to go about is by introducing them to a tablet, or a Chromebook.



#10 sagum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:04

First thing you need to do is assess the person using the internet before you can guide them into any hardware.

Ask them what they're interested in. If it's gardening, you need to show them why the internet would be great and helpful for them. Look up some botany forums, maybe some garden layout sites and get some nice HD vimo/youtube videos to show them.

Most of the senior users have either bad eye sight or can't hear very well, so you're going to have to make sure you met their needs based on that.
If they have bad eye sight, something like an ipad probably isn't going to be great for them. You might find they prefer to use say a 22-24" monitor at 1080p but with DPI setting to larger then normal and internet explorer's zoom to 150%.
The Desktop DPI can be set and left, but you'll need to show them how to change the size of the zoom on the browser as they'll use it quite often. For internet explorer it's usually just a case of enabling the status bar and showing them the 100% button to click.
 

For sound, i'd recommend a rugged set of head phones. Nothing fancy as if their hearing bad anyway, they'll probably not enjoy the bass but it'll give them the ability to hear people talking on youtube videos and the like.

 

After that, make sure they're comfortable. Dedicated computer chair is great for young people, but for the older folk, they're used to using an arm chair to watch TV. You might want to adapt a computer into the same style setting. A vesa mounted swing arm for the monitor on to the wall next to their chair might help things, along with wireless keyboard and mouse so it feels more like using the TV.

 

Laptops tend to be too fiddly with tracker pads and the screens too small, with them not having enough movement to keep the laptop balanced if it's used on the lap.

 

 

Lastly, and probably most importantly, remember to teach them the golden rule of computers....
 

4463d682735d1cb300ce7e5032c9128e3dd4a553

 



#11 spacer

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:16

Just give it to them:

 



#12 +techbeck

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 12:24

Depends.  This is where Chromebooks would come in handy.  No need to worry about malicious programs being installed.  No need to worry about antimalware either.  Turn it on and go. 

 

Regardless of what platform you choose, you or someone else will need to sit down with them to go over at least the basics and get them up and running.  I have found out some older people get the tech easily, while others require a lot of hand holding.  And some flat out refuse to learn any new tech.



#13 Earthworm_Jim

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 15:30

In my experience, of which I have quite a bit, the best course of action is to just accept that they'll probably never get it. If you make it easy for them they'll find a way to break that and make it hard again. It's just not intuitive to them like it is to us.

 

thats what i thought...   but my parents (65-70)  learned to use internet, and scan old-time pictures, and edit them in picasa very well and create new albums for the family to remember the past, and use office to create a book that was published and of course watch videos and read books online.

 

took a lot of time, but it is far from hopeless.   they stress out a lot at trying new things, and they hated it when firefox upgrade or picasa upgrade changes interface in any way.

 

but they learned it, because they wanted to, even when at first, i gave up teaching them...

 

 

if highly motivated, teaching them to skype, and internet, is easy.....     file management is harder, and editing photo albums is even harder, but if they want it they will learn



#14 Hum

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 23:31

No disrespect -- but I would think a senior would tend to drop a tablet.

 

And they can be awkward to type on.