Older people across the capital have been offered free technology tips to help them get to grips with computers, the internet and the latest gadgets - thanks to London South Bank University.
Older 'technophobes' were encouraged to embrace new innovations and gain the confidence to use 'must-have' items like tablets and mobile phones effectively - ultimately improving their quality of life.
Academics and students from LSBU, along with representatives from the charity Age UK London, shared practical advice to take the mystery out of going online and using gadgets at a 'techie tea party'.
LSBU staff and students offered older people top tips as they got 'hands-on' and experimented with laptops, smart phones, tablets, digital cameras and internet access.
Those having trouble with their own gadgets also brought them along so the University's 'trouble-shooters' could work their magic.
The event was run as part of Age UK London's digital inclusion programme 'MiCommunity' -
and was hosted by the University.
Shushma Patel, Professor of Information Systems at the University, said: "Our staff and students have been helping older people to tackle the digital exclusion they face.
"By gaining knowledge at the event, their confidence will have grown and technical gadgets will be demystified.
"This is a massive issue - in this country around 5.7million people in later life have never used the internet and many more find it difficult to stay up-to-date with the pace of new technology.
"The main barriers appear to be a lack of understanding and confidence around 'how technology works', fears and anxieties about 'doing something wrong', as well as concerns about internet security - but these issues can all be overcome."
Around 30 older people from across London - including Lambeth, Ealing and Harrow - attended the techie tea party on campus.
Professor Patel said that there are many benefits for older people who embrace technology, such as staying engaged with the community through the use of council websites and local blogs.
She added: "Through our research in the Department of Informatics at LSBU, our work includes advising technological companies about how to make their products and information more user-friendly and accessible for everyone, including older people."
Sharon Tynan, MiCommunity Corporate Volunteering Coordinator at Age UK London, said: "Age UK London's MiCommunity programme was really pleased to work with LSBU on this techie tea party. MiCommunity has been funded by the Mayor of London and Reuben Foundation under the Team London initiative. It has engaged over 1,000 volunteers across the capital and helped older people to stay connected: not only to their immediate community, but also with the wider world."
Posted: 14th May 2012