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Maureen's first steps online


A mother and daughter’s view

Maureen is an 86-year-old grandma of six from Hull. Like many other older people, Maureen decided earlier this year that it was time to embrace technology, and with the help of her daughter Sue and a brand-new tablet, she took first steps online. We spoke to Maureen and Sue to see how they’ve found the journey, how it’s improved their lives, and what they’ve learnt along the way. 

If you know somebody like Maureen that wants to get online but is struggling, here are some top tips.

Why did you want to get online?

Maureen: Some of my friends were recently telling me about puzzles and games they play on their tablets, so initially it was a way to just keep myself entertained during lockdown, but I also wanted to be part of family activities I’d heard so much about from Sue.

Sue: Staying in touch in lockdown was a big priority. I usually find the time to pop to see Mum every couple of days, but as that wasn’t possible, I knew we needed to think of new ways to help her.

Did you have any concerns about getting online?

Maureen: Yes, I’ve heard about scams online, so I was a bit worried about that, but everything is password protected and I’m very careful.

Sue: Yes, I did need to give her a lesson in not disclosing any personal information, even over the phone, and just a warning to be suspicious and vigilant always. I remind her that if she’s not sure, to always check with me, and so far, so good!

How has it changed your day to day life?

Maureen: I now order my repeat prescription online, set reminders to take my medication, get my shopping delivered, and do my sudoku. I’ve also been added to the family WhatsApp group, so I get constant messages and photos from my grandchildren. I think video calling is wonderful too.

Sue: I feel happier that we have a few more lines of communication, so we can include her more.

What did you struggle with?

Maureen: Getting used to my tablet and remembering all my passwords.

Sue: I set up most of the apps and reminders for her but explaining how to use them did require a bit of patience!

What has surprised you the most?

Maureen: How my 4-year-old great-granddaughter knows how to video call me!

Sue: How she’s taken to it so quickly, and how she uses emojis with every message she sends.

What’s the best thing about getting online this year?

Maureen: I feel much less lonely, I can find out what’s going on outside of my four walls without opening the front door, and it has given me something to keep my mind occupied.

Sue: Seeing her confidence grow and seeing her get a bit of her independence back.

Here are some of the support materials that Sue used to help Maureen get online. We hope this story has inspired you to help others, in the fight to improve digital inclusion in the UK.

Top tips on staying safe online

Top tips for shopping online

Managing your health online

Managing your money online

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