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Famous Faces Reveal Why They Love The Net

Published: 21st March 2012 13:32
Famous names from stage, screen and print have joined forces with ‘YouTubers' to encourage Internet users to help people in later life get online. With statistics showing that half of all people aged 75 and over live alone (2.4 million) and over 700,000 people 65+ saying they always or often feel lonely, Age UK is running Myfriends Online Week (19-25 March) to help older people get online and enjoy the social benefits of the Web.

CoupleSpeaking to Age UK's YouTube channel, Tony Robinson, June Whitfield, Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall and other celebrities explained why they love the Internet and why they are backing Age UK's call to get internet users of all ages to spend some time helping an older person they know get online.

To view the videos please click the following links:

Tony Robinson

June Whitfield 

Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall

TV favourite Tony Robinson spoke passionately about why he loves the Internet: "I'm a bit of a technophobe, but I've been away in Australia for the last three months and the one thing that has kept me united with my family has been the Internet, it's the one thing that tells me how my little granddaughter is getting on."

"If you know an older person who is, like me, a bit scared of new technology and can only do the simple things, then please turn them on to the potential that the Internet has for them to be able to interact with their family when they're not in the same town or even country. It's brilliant, truly brilliant."

In the UK over 5.7 million people aged 65+ have never been online. Age UK's Myfriends Online Week is an annual campaign to give older people the opportunity to attend IT classes around the country, where they can learn the basics of getting online, plus find out about ‘hashtags', ‘likes', ‘retweets' and how to email and Skype loved ones.

Latest statistics from Ofcom show that many people aged 65+ prefer to learn about the Web through friends and family (51%), hence the Charity is calling on anyone who knows how to use technology, whatever their age, to spend some time helping an older friend, family member, colleague or neighbour to get online.

June Whitfield, actor and self-proclaimed Internet novice, said: "The Internet is an amazing thing, you can book your holiday, you can book your train tickets, there are not too many things that you can't do!"

David Mortimer, Head of Digital Inclusion at Age UK, commented: "For those of us online, it is hard to imagine life without the convenience of the Internet, especially keeping in contact with loved ones. Unfortunately millions of older people have never been online and miss out on these benefits, so I'd urge anyone who uses the Web to take the opportunity to help someone older to get online during Myfriends Online Week."

UK Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox, added: "I love the Internet because of the opportunities it can offer everyone who uses it. The Web provides a world of knowledge at our finger tips and allows families to keep in contact with each other in all four corners of the globe. So if you use the 'net, take an hour out of your week and help an older person you know to get online."

To find out more about how to use technology and the Internet, members of the public can call 0800 169 2081 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/it.

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