A 70-YEAR-OLD grandmother from Co Kildare has been crowned Google’s Silver Surfer.
The award, in association with Age Action, honours someone over the age of 50 who embraces the internet or technology with a sense of fun and adventure.
Pauline O’Connor, from Carbury in Co Kildare, was crowned the overall winner after she shunned the traditional grandchildren bonding that might involve arts or baking to learn how to play computer games with them.
Mastering the Playstation, Wii, and Nintendo DS, she now challenges her ten grandchildren to competitions on a regular basis as well as being an avid Facebook user.
Her daughter Aine said: “Every Sunday when we go for breakfast to her house, time is dedicated to figuring out the new challenge or sharing hints and tips with her grandchildren. It warms my heart to see my mother connecting with my children through technology.”
Pauline O’Connor with her daughter Aine (Pic: Conor Healy Photography)
As a result of winning, Pauline received a brand new Google Chromebook laptop from junior minister Fergus O’Dowd at a ceremony at Google’s Barrow Street headquarters in Dublin today.
Other winners included 64-year-old Dermot Perry, who suffers from Motor Neuron disease and who has been able to use his computer on a daily basis to communicate with others. He won the Most Dedicated IT Learner award.
John Kavanagh, 67, won the Hobbies on the Net Award having spent the last three years developing an internet club and Facebook page dedicated to Blues music.
John O’Keeffe, 76, won the IT Tutor Award for his help in teaching older people how to use Skype to talk to members of their families living abroad.
The winner of the Golden IT Award was Catherine Talty, age 96, who has been recording her own recollections of the old days for the local history group, Cuimhneach an Chláir, using a digital recorder.
Robin Webster, Chief Executive of Age Action said: “We hope that today’s winners will inspire more older people to learn IT skills.
“The examples we have seen today highlight the huge potential which new technology has to transform and enrich the quality of life for older people.”