It's Get Online Week – follow our tips to get connected
This week we’re celebrating Get Online Week by sharing tips to help people become part of the digital world.
Digital technology plays a crucial role in keeping us connected. We’re increasingly reliant on the internet in the workplace, for communicating with friends and family as well as online tasks like shopping and banking.
Our research shows that although the vast majority of people are online, 1.5 million UK homes are still not online.
Groups least likely to have home internet access are those aged 65+, lower income household, and the most financially vulnerable. Almost half of adults who remain offline say they find the internet too complicated (46%), or it holds no interest for them (42%). For others (37%), a lack of equipment is a barrier.
Check out our tips if you’re currently struggling to get online.
- Become a proxy user. If you have a friend, family member or neighbour who struggles with getting online, you could become a ‘proxy user’ and help them out with online tasks. Most people (60%) not using the internet at home have asked someone to do something for them online in the past year. Among these ‘proxy users’, the most common need was help in buying something (57%). Check in on your contacts to see if they need any assistance with day-to-day tasks – maybe you can show them how it works while you’re there.
- Help people learn digital skills. Get Online Week co-ordinates events to help people learn digital skills. Learning doesn’t have to start and end this week though. Many local authorities and charities offer free digital learning courses for older, vulnerable and digitally excluded people so they can brush up on their online skills.
- Make sure they have a good connection. Setting up a good connection at home is vital to helping people get online. You can check mobile and broadband coverage in your area using our checker and compare deals from different providers. Some providers offer social tariffs for those on lower incomes.
Staying safe when you're online
If you spend time online – especially if you’re new to it – it’s important to consider your safety and security. Being online isn’t without its risks, but there are lots of steps you can take to protect yourself.
Protect your accounts with strong, secure passwords
These often include a mix of letters, numbers and exclamation marks, or a sequence of multiple words. Avoid using passwords that are too simple, or which are based on your interests or personal things about you that others might be able to guess easily. And of course – don’t share your passwords with anybody else.
Install content filters or age controls
If your device can be used by other people including children, think about the types of content you want them to see. The main operating systems on most laptops and other devices offer the option to filer content and sites that can be visited. To do this, you’ll typically need to have different login details for different users, so you can grant different permissions for the individual people who use it. This function will usually be found in your device’s ‘settings’ menu.
Install the latest software updates
Software updates can be done automatically or manually, but are really important when it comes to security. Often, software companies will be aware of any security threats long before you will – and in response they will roll out software updates that help to protect you from these threats. Keep an eye on any prompts to update your software, and do so if you receive one.
Use a password or security code on your devices
Devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops often come with the option to use a password or security code that needs to be entered before you use them. These are important measures to take in case your device falls into the wrong hands. Without this, your device will be much easier to use for anybody who gets their hands on it.
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