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Simple ways to learn how to use and navigate the internet

The internet is for everyone – don't let your age be your barrier

Montgomery, TX (February 3, 2022) - Having access to the internet can improve your quality of life by providing educational and job placement opportunities. In addition, many online applications offer an instant benefit, such as telemedicine, which allows access to medical care, and social media, which allows homebound adults to stay in touch with family and friends. 

To be a successful internet user, you need digital skills and digital literacy. For many older adults, getting started is simply overwhelming. Why is this? If you look at most employees at computer and software companies, you might be led to believe the internet is only for the younger generation. This is not true — the internet is for everyone. Once you start browsing the internet yourself, you might be amazed at the amount of information that is available at your fingertips. 

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Another common fear is that your private information will be shared on the worldwide web. A third barrier to internet use is the device itself. With so many choices, which one is right for you? 

Adults and students need to embrace the internet by learning digital skills, including how to protect themselves online. The good news is, more and more communities offer workshops for mature adults on internet devices, digital literacy, and digital skills. 

Here are a few tips to get started on the internet, and hopefully, take some of your fears away. 

  • Spend time taking a class at your local library, community center or school, or read a beginner’s book on how to use the internet. Understanding what a modem and router do, and becoming familiar with terms like broadband, software apps and hard drive, the cloud, etc., can take some of the fear out of the internet. 
  • Learn the differences between all the devices that deliver the internet to you. These devices include smartphones, iPads, desktop computers and monitors, laptops, etc. Finding the device you are most comfortable with will ease you into using and enjoying the internet. 
  • Learn how to be safe on the internet. There are several software companies that offer to protect your information online, and while these can be helpful, there is nothing that offers 100% safety. Learning what applications are OK to open, and which ones can be harmful, is crucial for your protection. 
  • Only download apps you’re sure you will use, and not those you do not need. Keep your device simple and organized. There is an endless library of applications that you can download, but keeping things simple will make the internet manageable for you and tailor the information you receive to that which interests you most. 

There are those who feel they can avoid the internet, but that is getting harder and harder to do. If you want to enroll in many government programs, you will find they only accept online applications. It is best to learn how to use broadband and keep yourself safe in the process. 

It is never too late. Once you learn the basics and understand what level of participation is comfortable for you, you can enjoy all the benefits the internet has to offer.

Additional resource:

Pam Waggoner

About the Author: Pam Waggoner is a Broadband Solutions Manager for Connected Nation. Pam coordinates and manages the activities of planning teams in support of Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program and the development of community-specific community team creation, data gathering, and technology action planning.