Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I Love the Internet

I love the Internet. I truly do.

It is a giant encyclopedia. It is medical information that you couldn't get before. It is a place for conversations and learning and sharing. It's a place to find your next date.

It is a place for music. It is a place for movies and theatre. It is a place to contribute your crafting talent. It is a place to shop for goods, food and services (and find out how good they are first.) And, it's the biggest library and bookstore in the world.

What Happens in an Internet Minute
It is a place to help with graceful aging. But, many older adults are afraid of the Internet. It is the big unknown. It is a place where identity thieves lurk. It is a place where bad things happen to your computer. Or as Betty White said on SNL, "I didn't know what Facebook was and now that I do know what it is, I have to say it sounds like a huge waste of time."

AARP has started a new project called AARP TEK to help the 50+ crowd better engage with resources available online. They are presenting short, hands-on sessions lead by youth to help people learn about tablets.  A great idea.

But how can each of us expand this in our own locale to bring people online. That is the conundrum. We did a survey in San Diego County over a couple of years and discovered these pertinent facts:
  • Seniors want to learn from peers who speak their language.
  • Seniors are okay to travel somewhere to learn, but not more than 10 miles from home (and a senior center was at the bottom of the list of preferred locations. Libraries and community centers were more acceptable locations.)
  • Seniors want to learn the basics about the newest stuff and they want to learn about tablets and smart phones.
I want everyone to love the Internet. And I'd love your ideas on how to get more older adults online.