Today, millions of us have become accustomed to using the internet in some form. It might be at work, at home or with a smartphone or tablet such as an iPad, but not all of us have seen what going online can bring. Older people who, in their prime, won’t have had the chance to experience the online boom, passing them by as it began in the mid-to-late 1990’s.

Irrespective of age, all of us will benefit from using the internet in some capacity. It might be for searching for a new job, somewhere to buy groceries without having to take a trip to the local supermarket or even for meeting new people and getting in touch with distant relatives overseas. The sky’s the limit, especially when trying to do something new with it.

Take advantage

A recent study has shown more than seven million adults in the UK have never used the internet, which in an age of superfast fibre optic broadband and broadening social media is astonishing. This could change for the better if you have elderly relatives, such as your parents, who might be oblivious to the web’s existence and tell them what they could do. You can also ask them what they wish to find or search on the internet. You can lead them through the process.

One of the best ways in which you could do that is to introduce them to the world of online retail. It’s one of the main things the internet is used for in the UK, and has played an ever-increasing role in the retail sector. Introducing your parents (or aunts/uncles) to, say, a site such as eBay might help them become a silver surfer, but they will need the right equipment to get started.

You could take them through how the site helps users, what they can possibly purchase online instead of visiting physical shops, what they need to make payment and how they should protect their financial information when making online transactions.

Remember the basics

To get your parents on the road to becoming web-savvy, they will need three things:

  • A computer/laptop
  • An internet connection, preferably wireless
  • An Ethernet cable in case

The first two are essential, but they might seem expensive. However, shopping around for second-hand or discounted PCs might save money, while broadband providers might have cheap introductory offers. Alternatively, you could get a USB flash drive for a month or so to see if they like using the net. If you live with your parents and you use the internet on daily basis, you could also spare some of your time to introduce your older relatives to the internet at an opportune moment.

It might be worth spending a little time with them, talking them through each step. You don’t have to be patronizing, but make sure you don’t use too much jargon. Also, it’s worth maybe showing them sites relating to their interests – if that doesn’t help them love the web, then what will? You will need patience to successfully introduce your parents to the digital revolution. Take time and do it right and they will be grateful.