Spring Online 2013

Digital Unite’s Spring Online campaign takes place this week. This annual event is dedicated to encouraging more people to join the online world. Spring Online began life as Silver Surfers’ Day back in 2002. The aim was to introduce older people to the world of technology by encouraging libraries, community centres, schools and sheltered housing schemes to open their doors and hold taster sessions.

By holding IT workshops in Creative Support’s North East regional office we have done just that. So far we have helped people to sign up for email accounts, learn how to send and receive emails with attachments, get to grips with Microsoft Word and Excel, transfer photographs from a camera into a file on the computer, and gain lots of other skills.

It is amazing what technology can offer at our finger tips. My life is surrounded with it. I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I certainly can use computers more than I sometimes realise. And as you’re reading this blog, you probably can too.

This morning I turned my alarm off, checked Facebook, and texted a friend on my mobile before I’d even got out of bed. I got to work and used my laptop check my emails. At lunch time I did some online banking and bought some clothes on eBay. Tonight when I go home I will probably use LOVEFiLM to stream an episode of ‘24’.

I’m sure the internet sounds like a scary place for people who aren’t used to going online, but it also has the potential to open up a whole new world, especially for those who don’t leave their house very often or don’t feel comfortable socialising. Digital Unite research has shown that of those over 55s who are using the internet, 86% said it had improved their lives, 72% said it had helped reduce their feelings of isolation and 81% said it had made them feel part of modern society. These statistics may encourage older or more vulnerable people to get online without fear of identity theft or bullying.

Staying safe online is obviously an essential part of getting to grips with technology, so why not read Creative Support’s Five Top Tips Every Web User Should Know, or go to one of the free digital taster events taking place across the UK this week to celebrate Spring Online?




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