Using the Internet, with the click of a mouse, you can schedule doctor appointments, talk to your loved ones, purchase birthday gifts, and much more. However, the Internet can also be confusing if you’ve never learned how to use it, especially if you don’t understand basic terms and concepts. If words like browser and URL sound like technical jargon, use our quick guide below, titled Internet 101 for Seniors, to better understand the World Wide Web.
Internet 101 for Seniors
What Is the Internet?
To begin our lesson, Internet 101 for seniors, let’s discuss the fundamentals. The Internet is a global network of computers that share information with one another. Within this network exists the World Wide Web (also known simply as “the web”), an information system that allows documents to connect with one another. This in turn allows users to search for information and hop between different documents. The documents on the web are known as webpages, and they are identified by Uniform Resource Locators (URLs). A website is a collection of one or more webpages located on the web.
When you access the web, you are said to be “going online.” To do this, you must have an Internet connection and a device able to access the Internet (like a computer, tablet, or smartphone). Most of these devices will come with a web browser, another crucial element, already installed. The browser is a software application that allows you to explore the World Wide Web. The following are common browsers:
- Apple Safari
- Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer
- Microsoft Edge
- Mozilla Firefox
When you open a browser, you will notice a space at the top of the page that shows the address of the displayed page. The address is also known as a URL, as we mentioned above. For example, this website’s URL is https://www.hearthsideseniorliving.com/. If you wanted to return to the site at a later date, you could type the URL into the address bar of any browser and press “Enter” on the keyboard.
Below the address bar, you will find the content of the webpage. Pages vary widely in content, but many include text, photos, and videos. Webpages often include hyperlinks (also known as “links”), which act as transporters, as well. If the viewer clicks on the hyperlink (which could take the form of a word, photo, or icon), another webpage will open. For example, this entire sentence is a hyperlink (if you click on it, another webpage will open).
Searching the Web
When most people use the Internet, they don’t know the address of every page they wish to visit. Instead, they use a search engine like Google to look for websites that contain certain information.
If you would like to search the web, simply type www.google.com into the URL bar of your web browser and click “Enter.” When you arrive at Google’s homepage, type what you are looking for into the empty box under the logo. You don’t need to use correct grammar, punctuation, or capitalization. For example, you might type:
- restaurants memphis (to find a place to eat in Memphis, Tennessee)
- knicks schedule (to find the season schedule of the New York Knicks)
- weather (to find your local weather forecast)
- barnes and noble (to visit the website of Barnes & Noble)
- hard boil egg (to learn how to hard boil an egg)
After you type your query, click “Enter.” A list of websites will appear. Click on one of the blue headings (which are hyperlinks) to visit that website. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on the webpage, click the “back” arrow at the top of the web browser to return to the search engine’s results page and try again.
Connecting with Friends and Family
We can’t teach an Internet 101 for seniors class without discussing one of the top benefits of the web: communication. Using the Internet, you can connect with people around the world. For example, you could use it to talk to your granddaughter studying in Italy, your sister who moved to California, or your son who lives five minutes away. Most online communication occurs through e-mailing and social media.
To get an e-mail account, register on a website like gmail.com or yahoo.com. You will create a unique e-mail address, which your friends can use to send you digital mail. We don’t have time to explore e-mailing in depth here, but you can search online to find a tutorial for help.
Social media websites like Facebook work in a similar way. You will register with the website and create a personal account. Then, you can “add friends” by typing in their e-mail addresses or phone numbers. You can send messages (similar to e-mails) through Facebook or post text/photos for all of your friends to see.
Find a Tutor
Most seniors feel more comfortable learning to use the Internet with a tutor. To improve your knowledge and skills, considering enrolling in an Internet 101 for seniors class at your local library or community center. You could also ask your children or grandchildren (or any other young people you know) for help. Not only will this help you understand the Internet, but it will also give you a chance to bond with your loved ones.
Although intimidating at first, the Internet is also intuitive. Once you get the hang of the basics, you can further explore the depths of the World Wide Web. Good luck!
If you’re interested in assisted living in Collierville, Tennessee, be sure to check out Hearthside Senior Living of Collierville. We have spacious apartments and convenient services and amenities, like exercise classes, a beautiful dining room, and group activities. If you’re interested in learning more about the community or scheduling a tour, please give us a call at 901-651-2503 or click here. We look forward to hearing from you!