Seniors take on the internet

Ruby Rafferty, 86, with her tutor, Nikayla Pepin, 15, and an iPad Mrs Rafferty was learning to use.
Ruby Rafferty, 86, with her tutor, Nikayla Pepin, 15, and an iPad Mrs Rafferty was learning to use. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

RUBY RAFFERTY, 83, easily remembers the first time she heard a radio, as a teenager.

"We all gathered around to listen to it," Mrs Rafferty said.

"Everyone was so impressed."

But technology has changed a lot since then and Mrs Rafferty is determined to keep up.

She bought an iPad to help her keep in touch with her three grandchildren and six great grandchildren, who live all over the world.

At a Telstra senior technology workshop held at Ballina yesterday, Mrs Rafferty learnt how to use it.

She said the workshop - which covered sending emails, internet banking, cyber safety and exploring the world wide web - was the first step in getting better connected to the world.

Using the touchscreen interface was challenging at first, she said, because her instinct was to press down on it as though it were keys on a typewriter.

But it wasn't long before she got the hang of it and was on her way to becoming tech savvy.

North Coast Telstra Country Wide area manager Sue Passmore said the workshops demsytified the internet for seniors.

"The internet is becoming an increasingly important communication tool for older Australians to stay connected with their family, friends and communities," Ms Passmore said.

"These workshops cater to seniors who have a range of technical knowledge - from those who have never ventured online and might be a little daunted by the technology to those who are regularly surfing the net and are looking for tips to get the most out of their online experience."

The course was delivered by Peter Blasina, also known as the Gadget Guy, assisted by Xavier Catholic College students who were buddied up with the seniors to help them navigate their way through cyber space using iPads.

"The students are digital natives used to comminicting online," he said. "The course helped seniors get comfortable using technology they can operate with their index finger."

The same course was run in Casino on Tuesday, with St Mary's Catholic College School students as 'trainers'.

Topics:  ruby rafferty, senior technology workshop, sue passmore, telstra



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