3 easy ways to help your parents get on the Internet

Are you concerned that your elderly parents may be in need of more social interaction or mental stimulation? Consider getting your parents on the Internet.

3 easy ways to help your parents get on the Internet

Seniors and the Internet

By teaching your parents how to use the Internet, you can help them stay in touch with others via email and social networking sites. In addition, they can also keep their minds sharp by playing online games and staying on top of current events.

  • According to Statistics Canada, seniors -- defined as 65 years of age and older -- are the fastest growing group of Internet users today.
  • At the same time, seniors are still the smallest group of users.
  • For some seniors, technology is scary. Others just don't see a need for it until they are shown how the Internet can give them access to the outside world.
  • Internet access is especially important for seniors who are either home-bound or have difficulty getting out on a regular basis.

Choosing a device

When purchasing a device for your parents to access the Internet, consider how they will use it.

  • For example, if you believe your parents will only need a device to check their email and Facebook page or to play games, then a tablet may be the best choice for them. Seniors can also use these lightweight devices to take pictures and videos.
  • On the other hand, if you believe your parent may start blogging or working in other ways on their device, then you should consider purchasing them a laptop or desktop computer. Because these units have larger screens and physical keyboards, they are easier to work with

Teaching them to use their device

The most important thing a technologically-challenged senior will need when given any computerized device is training from a patient person, especially if they have never used a computer before.

  • Hopefully, you or other family members can spend quality time with your parent. Teach them how to navigate the computer and its many functions and how to use the Internet.
  • You may also want to sign your parent up for computer classes. Fortunately, many libraries and senior centres offer these types of classes for little or no cost.

Setting up your parents' computer

In addition to training your parents, you should also take time to set up their device with

  • An email account.
  • A Facebook page. Make sure to "friend" family members and friends for them, and then show them how Facebook works.
  • A Skype account so that they can connect with grandchildren and other relatives.

It may take a bit of patience on your part, but your parents will likely appreciate the Internet once they see how useful it can be.

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