Jane Binnion column

Jane Binnion.
Jane Binnion.

Most people I talk to who are new to social media believe it’s just for young people and are pretty surprised when I tell them that the over 45’s are now the fastest growing population on social media sites.

Facebook in particular is a great site for all generations as parents and grandparents realise it’s a fantastic way of keeping up to date with the latest family news and photos.

On saying that though we have a worrying social issue of a generation getting left behind. Martha Lane Fox, the UK’s Digital Champion wrote that “nine million people in the UK have never used the internet.

Three in five people aged 65 or over have never used the internet.

This puts them at a considerable disadvantage at a time when digital technology has become central to so many aspects of our lives”.

It is now expected that we will fill in most official forms online, from car tax and tax returns to applying for a visa. Also there are considerable savings to be made by shopping online and having paperless bills.

Even staying in touch is cheaper online when you can talk to friends and family overseas for free with the likes of Skype or Facebook messaging.

But all of these require an email address and access to the internet.

Obviously the issue isn’t only about learning how to use a computer, those struggling financially can’t afford the added costs of a monthly broadband bill.

So if you don’t have access to the internet what can you do? Well your public library can help. Not only are there computers to use for free, but there are people that can help you set up an email account and teach you how to use all the resources.

Since 2010, Lancashire libraries have helped over 10,000 complete beginners of all ages to get to grips with computers and the internet.

Lancashire County Council said, “We frequently offer free taster sessions where people can get their hands on a computer for the first time and discover that it doesn’t bite and won’t break.

“And they can ask all the questions they can think of.”

So if you would like someone to help you get started online, pop along to your local library, or give them a call.

Have a great week and keep safe.