|Can Senior Citizens Use the Internet? Yes! Many seniors are using the internet. But if you are a senior that isn’t, here are some terms and basics to get you started.
How can a senior get connected? Are you a senior who feels cut off from the world? Do you miss your family and friends? Would you like to be able to use a computer to be more connected?
In this article I discuss some of the basics about accessing the World Wide Web in hopes that you can join the wonderful world of the internet.
But First, You Might Ask, Why Should I Be Interested in the Internet?
Good question. If you are part of my generation (baby boomer) then you remember a world without computers, never mind the internet. The first I ever heard the term computer was when I was walking to school as a 7th grader and talking to my friend. Her father worked for IBM, and she had to explain what that was. They were working on computers then. (Around 1963)
Fast forward to the present, and not only do we have personal computers, but we also have cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
Because we have all those technological developments, and more, the internet has become part of our life. Those devices (also called hardware), and more, can be used to access the internet.
But why would you want to access the internet? Here’s several reasons I gleaned from my research.
- reach family and friends
- see pictures of family and friends
- speak with your health care providers
- play games
- research any topic you like
- shop, and order groceries and prescriptions
- work from home
- get the news
- find out what is happening nearby and far away
The Internet Opens Up a Whole New World
The internet opens you to the whole world around you. You can access as much or as little information as you like. But how do you do all that?
Well, you need to access the internet, or the world wide web. Incidentally, that’s where the www came from in all the web addresses.
Now I realize that you have to have access to the web to even read this article, so I am going to assume someone has helped you get started and you found my article.
But in the event they didn’t explain everything to you, I am here to do so. Or at least get a start on it.
You need two things to access the internet. You need a device, such as a computer or a cellphone, and a system to connect to the internet. Those systems are varied and I will discuss some soon, but they are usually a modem which delivers a signal from an internet service to your device.
What should you get? A desktop or a laptop? A tablet or just a smartphone? Want a few definitions? Like what those are?
A desktop is what we used to just call a computer. It has a hard drive, or a tower, that attaches to a monitor, or a screen and to a keyboard. It sits on your desk; hence the name. It implies that it will sit in one location; because moving all that around is no fun.
A laptop is very portable, and used by most of the younger generation because it is so portable. It can fit on your lap; and therefore has earned the name. It has a processor inside, so no need to hook up to a tower. And the screen is part of the laptop, as is the keyboard. So everything you need is in one piece of equipment.
A tablet is an even smaller laptop-like device, but is a touch screen (you touch the screen to open apps) and has no keyboard. The processor isn’t as powerful, but you can still do lots with a tablet.
A smartphone gets its name because it is like a small computer, and you can do lots on a smartphone, including of course, making a call.
Which one you should purchase will depend on your needs. Shop around, do research, go to the store to see the product.
Keep The Following in Mind
Here are some things I have learned over the years.
- Typing (or keyboarding; I like the old term) on anything but a desktop is a challenge. Yeah, you can do so on a laptop, but my old fingers make lots more mistakes on it. I’m really used to the keyboard which is very much like an old typewriter.
- Screen sizes vary widely in all the devices. Depending on your vision limitations, you may not be able to see clearly enough to use one of them. So test them out, ideally in the same sort of light you will be using regularly.
- If you plan to use the device for work, I personally recommend a desktop. I have a laptop, but I prefer to work on my desktop, especially when I am writing my articles.
How To Access the Internet
To get on the internet, or as some call it, the information highway, you need a device that has a built in modem. All current devices have this.
Then you need some sort of service that can plug you into the highway. These companies are called Internet Service Providers or ISP for short. There are currently over a thousand companies that do this, but you will be limited in your choice. Your choices will be the companies that service your area.
I wrote an extensive article explaining about ISPs. Here it is. I recommend you read it to better understand what to look for. Once you have an internet provider, and your chosen device, you are ready to jump on the web!
A Final Word of Caution
With this amazing technology has come evil and criminal actions. You can’t be too careful when you are accessing the web. Before you start using the web, have these in place.
- Purchase a secure internet connection from a reputable company.
- Spend money on a good security software system. There are several to choose from. Do your research. Norton, McAfee and Trend are some popular brands.
- Set up strong passwords. Here is a helpful article about how to create a strong password.
- Watch out for scams like romance scams, IRS scams, grandparents scams, and more. I wrote several articles about scams. Here is one: Senior Scam Alerts. Unfortunately, there are new scams everyday. So be careful!
Was this helpful? Do you have questions? Or comments? Please leave them below. I welcome any responses that would make this article better.
I want all seniors to enjoy the wonderful world of the internet. But be careful out there!