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Opening up the online world

Published on 13 April 2022 03:39 PM

Many older people are still reluctant to confront their insecurities about venturing online, even though if it offers endless possibilities - making it easier to carry out tasks and stay in touch with friends and family, as well as learn about the world. Here we ask Howard, who coordinates our digital inclusion sessions and our Laptop Loan Scheme, what is putting some people off technology and how can it change lives once people embrace it.

What are the biggest barriers for people when it comes to going?

There are two types of barriers -  actual physical barriers, like no connection to the internet, broadband or wi-fi and then there are psychological barriers or fears, like not knowing what you’re doing or ‘Will I break anything or do anything wrong?’.

People are often worried about scammers and hackers and if unscrupulous people can connect to their IT devices remotely through the internet, stealing confidential or financial information. When online banking first emerged, lots of people refused to use it because it was new and they didn’t trust it, whereas today it’s become the accepted norm and banks have much more advanced IT security and fraud protection.

How can getting a laptop and learning how to use it change people's lives?

The changes and potential are unlimited! Once connected to the outside world via the internet, the world really is your oyster. Using a search engine like Google you can find and do anything you want, from reading a book or watching a film to chatting with friends and family or just playing a game of Solitaire or doing a crossword, even listening to the radio at the same time. It can help people get connected and really feel included.

What's the first thing people do when they're set up on their laptop?

Everyone has different needs and desires so this depends on why people choose to get a laptop in the first place. People always want to know how to send an email and then it’s ‘How do I search the internet?’ and quite often ‘How do I transfer my photos from my phone to my laptop so I can free up some space on my phone?’. 

Laptop Loan Scheme

Age UK Barnet's Laptop Loan Scheme offers short term laptop loans to Barnet residents over 55 and supports them to get online - click here to find out more. If you or someone you know would really gain from one of our laptops, please get in touch. Just contact us on 020 8203 5040 or email 

Computer sessions

Want to learn how to get to grips with your laptop, smart phone or tablet? Why not come along to one of our IT sessions for a bit of one-to-one support. Click here for a list of classes around the borough. For more info, contact Howard on 07798 622832 or email