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For those who have never used it, the internet can seem confusing and intimidating. But it also has so many uses such as keeping in touch long distance, taking free online courses and learning just about anything. Many older adults are afraid to try something new but there are ways that you can help to get your parents online.

Getting Started:

  • Many seniors learn best by being shown how to do things. They don’t want to read a book about using the internet or watch a video. Sit down with them and take them through the steps of using their computer. Set aside a time each week to teach them one new thing. Many libraries and senior centers also have lessons in computers.
  • Help your parents with the choices available. What will work best for them? A desktop computer, a laptop or a tablet? Should they use wireless or broadband? Will they need a router? This is the point where many parents will give up so explain to them how each works and help them come to a decision that will work well for them.
  • Be patient. It can be very frustrating teaching anyone how to use the internet, especially for those who are tech savvy and have been using computers for years. Keep it simple. Take it one step at a time and keep the lessons short. Your parent is probably feeling just as frustrated as you.
  • Be prepared for tech support phone calls. These are the calls where your parent has only one thing to say about going online and that is “help”. You will probably have to go over the same thing many times but the one thing you can tell your parents is that their computer will not blow up if they touch a certain key!

Keep up with the positive attitude. Soon your parents will be too busy with email and other online interests to be calling you for help. To read the full article on tips to help your parents get connected, click here.