Why Your Parents Should Be Online

If your parents are not already online, here are the three best reasons why they should be: to stay in touch with loved ones near and far, to stay informed about important news and current events, and to complete practical tasks such as shopping and banking.

These days, having a basic email account is the bare minimum for establishing an online presence. Programs like Skype and social media sites including Facebook and Twitter go even further to keep people connected. With just a few clicks, you can share written updates, photos and videos. In addition, search engines and news sites provide instant access to information and news as it happens.

Most older adults are familiar with email and other technologies, yet many of them remain resistant to the idea of using them regularly. Perhaps there is distrust of the unknown or a concern for their privacy. With constant reports of online stalking and identity theft, some of these fears are valid at any age. However, the many benefits of being online, from maintaining contact with loved ones to accessing necessary information, generally outweigh the risks. What’s more, the learning curve has gotten smaller for those people who might feel challenged or intimidated by modern technology, and help is always available.

Email access is only the beginning. With people raising their families in areas other than where they grew up, whether it’s a few states away or in a different country altogether, programs like Skype provide a convenient method of staying in touch with loved ones. All it takes is a quick software download to let you start taking advantage of free telephone and video calls, thereby avoiding long distance fees.

Once people have mastered the basics of email and Skype for communicating with family and friends, a common next step is to set up a Facebook account. In fact, recent studies have shown that older adults are the fastest growing group of new Facebook members. Currently, a number of older professionals also have a visible presence on LinkedIn and, to a lesser extent, Twitter.

Email and social media sites are not the only beneficial tools available to older adults. Local news sites and forums can also forge a sense of community, keeping residents up to date about the current events in their areas and allowing them to contribute their voices to the issues that affect them. Whereas your parents’ generation grew up in a world of brick-and-mortar libraries, today they have access to nearly all of the same information via their computer keyboards.

The third reason that they should be online is that, for various reasons, many older adults experience limited mobility. They might not have dependable transportation, or their health might keep them at home most of the time. Fortunately, they can complete a variety of tasks online, from shopping to mailing packages. A person can meet all of his or her basic needs without leaving home. Furthermore, with online banking and other personal services, people can feel more organized and avoid paper clutter.

As someone who might have more experience with technology, you can help your parents understand the benefits of establishing their online presence. Once they gain confidence and realize that assistance is available, they are more likely to take advantage of online resources.

Nexus offer computer lessons to the local area of Buckinghamshire. If you think its time your parents should be online call us on 01753884700 (Gerrards Cross) 01494 730120 (Beaconsfield).

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