My 65-year-old retired mom has never been online before, and she wants to keep in touch with me and the kids via email. How can I get her started safely?
That’s a good idea. You can introduce your mother to the Internet in a couple of ways. First, during her next visit, give her a tour of your computer and show her how the Internet and email work. Your kids can even show her the ropes without being overly technical. Have them type an email to a friend and show grandma how they send it, and so on.
If that's not possible, suggest that she take an "Introduction to the Internet" type class at her local community college or senior center -- they are often free and will review online safety procedures.
Next, have her start by emailing you from her community center or library where she can get help, if necessary.
When she knows more about the online world, you might consider helping her choose a home computer that doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, and that she can connect to the Internet in only a few steps (like an iMac). Make sure it comes preloaded with her email program and Web browser sitting right on the desktop so it's easy to find. Before you know it, your mom will be emailing you night and day!
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