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It's never too late - here 104-year-old Ivy Bean receives Internet training.
It's never too late - here 104-year-old Ivy Bean receives Internet training.
Image: Bob Collier/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Get your Ma and Da online with Google's new website

GetYourFolksOnline.ie is a tool so younger people can help their parents (and grandparents) learn how to use the Internet.
Nov 26th 2011, 9:15 AM 4,402 19

THEY GAVE YOU the world…now you can repay them with the web.

According to Google and Age Action Ireland, young people should get their parents using the Internet.

We hear you – easier said than done.

But Google and Age Action have teamed up to encourage younger people to become better teachers.

Without guidance, teenagers and young adults are generally reactive in helping their parents when it comes to online problems. Help is only given (or asked for) when the user is “stuck”, which leads to growing tensions and raised voices.

The good folk over at the search engine have developed an easy-as-you-like website to help turn that parent-child relationship around.

GetYourFolksOnline.ie aims to help younger people pass on their Internet skills to those of the previous generations – be it parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles.

And it’s not just about being able to send emails while away from home. Google’s Head of Social Action Sinéad Gibney says that it is often the case that older people know how to email but do not use other services the Internet offers such as online banking, photo sharing or social networking.

They are alien concepts.”

Making it fun

Lesson plans  for beginners – such as “using the mouse” and improvers - “shopping online” – are provided.

The basics are all covered, including the keyboard, the mouse, search engines, browsing and email but more advanced lessons are also available.

The website provides lots of tips on how to keep the student motivated during those more intricate lessons.

“Fun stuff” such as looking up their house on street view or watching a video of Joe Dolan on YouTube should be used straight away to get them engaged, the site advises.

There is also a lesson on social networking, which Google describes as:

a way to keep in touch with people, share interests and make new friends on the Internet”.

An introduction to YouTube and the RTÉ Player also come as part of the improver lesson packs.

According to ComReg’s latest data, only about 35 per cent of people over the age of 50 use the Internet, while the majority of people under 50 are online.

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Sinead O'Carroll

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