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Internet would have improved our education

Published on 16 September 2010 11:30 PM

Internet would have improved our education, older people tell Age UK in new polling

One in three people (35%) aged 65 and over believe they would have had a better education if the internet had existed when they were younger [i]. The findings are part of new polling out today to launch Age UK's itea and biscuits week 2010, which starts on Monday 20 September.

The ICM polling also revealed that 35% of people aged 65+ would have kept in contact with friends and family more if the internet had been invented earlier [ii], showing that people in later life are aware of the benefits that being online can bring.

Despite this awareness, 6.4 million people (64%) aged 65+ have never used the internet [iii] - which is why Age UK is running itea and biscuits week 2010 (Monday 20 - Sunday 26 September). The week will see close to 1,000 events take place across the UK to encourage people in later life to start using the internet and other digital technology, such as mobile phones and digital cameras.

This year Age UK, the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, is also encouraging people with everyday technology skills to pledge to pass on their knowledge to older people, either by volunteering at an itea and biscuits week event or by informally training older friends, family and neighbours. With the new polling showing that a quarter of older people (27%) would be encouraged to get online or use the internet more if a friend, family member or neighbour could help them [iv], and with 90% of people aged 18-24 willing to pass on their computer skills to an older person [v], there are lots of ways for people of all ages to get involved.

Helena Herklots, Services Director at Age UK, said: ‘As today's polling shows, people in later life know that being online can offer lots of benefits. itea and biscuits week is a great way to start using the internet and enjoying some of these advantages - so why not come along to an event and have a go?

‘If you can't make it to an itea and biscuits week event, then informal training amongst friends, family and neighbours can also be a really good way to get started. For more information visit or call 0800 169 20 81.'

To help facilitate informal training Age UK has also launched two new IT volunteering videos to encourage and support people to pass on their skills and knowledge to people in later life. To view the new IT volunteering videos, sponsored by BT, or to find out how Age UK helps people in later life become digitally included, visit

Miriam Margolyes, 69, Harry Potter and Blackadder actress and Age UK celebrity ambassador, commented: ‘The internet is an essential resource that allows everyone to communicate, learn, save money and - most importantly - have fun. I've used the internet for years to keep in touch with friends and family, for shopping and research; I know the difference that it can make to people's lives, especially we older people. I think events like itea and biscuits week, with a bit of informal training, are a great way for older people to learn about getting online.'

Internet user Edward George, 93, from East Sussex, who started using the internet 11 years ago, said: ‘Before my daughter convinced me to use her laptop I didn't know a great deal about the internet, but now I can't imagine my life without it. Leaving the house has become more difficult and so the internet has been a lifeline, allowing me to easily keep in contact with family, as well as doing my banking and shopping online. When my friend and neighbour requires some equipment, I find it for him. I have even managed to convert my brother into an internet user! I would definitely recommend the internet to older people; it really has transformed my life.'

The new Age UK polling found that, as well as improving education, older people felt their lives would have been different in a number of ways had the internet existed when they were younger, including the following:

  • I would have saved money on products and services over the years
  • I would have taken up more hobbies
  • It would have been easier to bring up my children because the internet has a lot of information
  • I would have got more involved in the community
  • I would have been able to juggle life more easily.

To use the online video tutorial or to find out more about Age UK's digital inclusion work why not visit or call 0800 169 20 81.

- ENDS -


[i] ‘One in three people aged over 65' refers to 35% (350 out of 1000) of people aged over 65 polled.

[ii] This refers to 345 out of a total of 1000 respondents aged over 65 polled = 35%.

[iii] ‘Internet Access - Households and Individuals', Office for National Statistics 2006,    UK National Statistics publication hubopens link in new window.

[iv] This refers to 164 out of 606 people aged over 65 who don't use the internet or use it elsewhere polled = 27%.

[v] This refers to 119 out of 131 people aged between 18-24 polled = 90%.


Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged. The Age UK family includes Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI.

Age UK is inspired by the belief that it can improve the lives of people in later life. It celebrates ageing and believes it presents unprecedented opportunities and challenges at home and abroad. Age UK will challenge ageist prejudice in society, provide services that address market failures and support the public and private sectors to design age-friendly products and services. It will support people to remain in their own homes through campaigning and practical services and its Information and Advice service will offer millions of people support on a range of issues from claiming benefits to staying fit and healthy.

Age UK will fund biomedical research that helps tackle the ill health and poor quality of life that are too common as people age. Working with over 350 partners across the country, Age UK helps influence local decisions and delivers the most appropriate services. Its network of over 500 shops will act as a focal point for the local community, providing information and help with local services. Age UK works across the globe as well as in the UK, with its international partner, Help Age International, championing older people's rights and needs and as an active member of the DEC.

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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