Teaching the Elderly To Use The Internet – 4 Golden Rules

The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed our daily habits, the way we communicate, and the activities we do. Since physical contact has been brought to the minimum, we turn to technology and the Internet to communicate with others, to do shopping, to finish our work from home, to chill out with our friends, and many more. Younger generations adapt more quickly to the use of technology and online communication, while the elderly have developed a certain aversion towards any kind of stuff they do online. It has become a necessity to teach the elderly the basics of technology and online surfing. If you happen to have an elderly person nearby who wants to know a bit more about all this stuff, here are some pieces of advice for you that will help you in your teaching process. 

Help them conquer their fear of failure 

A lot of elderly people, who haven’t used the Internet and computer before, have a certain fear of failure and of being stuck in the unknown. It is important to point out to them that technology and digital media are there to serve people, not to scare them, and that everything is invented so it can help you find your way out. The best technique is to offer them examples from everyday life and to present Internet surfing and communication as an everyday habit which they will develop quickly. 

Patience is gold 

Elderly people need more time to learn stuff due to the less plasticity of their brain which is opposite to youngsters’ brain. Teaching the elderly to use the Internet would require more patience than usual, so be prepared for constant repeating and slow and simple instructions. Once you realize they don’t remember things by listening, write little notes with instructions and stick them on the walls or next to the computer, so they can revise the lessons as many times as they need. The key is to go step-by-step and to adapt the teaching process to their pace. 

Stick to the main points 

It is crucial to emphasize the benefits all the time and to stick to the basics and essentials. You must keep in mind that these people grew up in a completely different time without such a technological variety, and they cannot remember all the details you want to present to them. Define what is important to them to learn, and what is not, and repeat the important exercises and information till the moment they master them independently without your help. 

Do not forget Internet safety 

Do try to explain to the elderly what types of trouble they can fall into due to their digital naivety. Mention the Nigerian scammer, the links which can lead to different viruses, how to differentiate reliable sources from others, and all the hardships they can bump into. They cannot imagine the numerous dangers which can harm their Internet experience, yet they can do their best to protect themselves.