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Social Distancing Does Not Have to Mean Social Isolation – Generations on Line

Generations on Line (GoL) Helps Seniors Navigate Tech Options

By Katie Burke, Administrator, Generations on Line

Older woman holding a tablet with an the Easy Tablet Help app openedIf you, or someone you love, wants to learn how to use a tablet or smartphone to access the internet, Generations on Line (GoL) can help. GoL is a 20-year-old national non-profit, with a mission of narrowing the digital divide for seniors. And now, GoL is offering a FREE, interactive, tutorial for Android, Apple or Amazon tablets and smartphones, which can be found at

The tutorial was created with grant funding, and GoL shares it freely, to provide seniors with the information and skills necessary to use the internet. Although the training is specifically designed for seniors, anyone can use it. Another helpful feature of the GoL free tutorial is that it can stay on a learner’s device, allowing them to return to it, if a refresher is needed.

The GoL Free Tutorial Includes:
The Basics :
 Tapping a touch-screen, enlarging a page and shrinking, scrolling up and down, where buttons are located, how to get a keyboard to appear AND disappear

  • Web : How to search the internet and internet safety
  • Email+: Texting, video-calling (Skype, Zoom, FaceTime), setting up and accessing a Gmail account
  • More : Using the camera; accessing apps and YouTube; how to attach photos to email

screen shot of GOL websiteLoneliness and the Benefits of Technology: GoL Has Some Suggestions…

Did you know that loneliness has been associated with numerous health challenges, including increased risk of dementia? The pandemic’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” protocols have increased social isolation that often leads to loneliness, boredom and depression. GoL works to help older adults to feel a part of their family, neighborhood, extended community and world.

Those who have used technology before may need very little support, and will go through the tutorial at their own pace, choosing to repeat sections or move ahead as they wish. Many others will need a friend or relative to help coach them through the program.

  • If the coach and learner can be in the same room, the coach can support independent learning simply by troubleshooting, prompting and encouraging as needed.
  • If remote support is required, friends and/or family members can act as a remote coach by putting the same GoL tutorial on their own device. They can make the same selections on each page as the learner and be ready to encourage or answer any questions by phone.

Seniors may need inspiration to pursue new technology options…
For many seniors, it helps to discover the benefits of new learning, especially when it comes to technology. Do they like cooking—tell them about the treasure-trove of recipes available online. Do they miss the family? Video calling is a great incentive for many to start learning. The incentive varies from person to person. One senior loved to fix cars and learned he could view old car manuals online – then he was hooked on the internet!

Once they start learning, most find it rewarding. “I never realized so much was out there!” a coach shared recently. “My learner had only used her tablet for games. She did not use the camera, email, apps or other features for she was afraid she would wipe out something. After completing the tutorial, she is now much more confident and can use the device. Goal met!”

More support from GoL: Free Family Guides

Generations on Line has recently created free Family Guides to help families assist loved ones with tablet and/or Wi-Fi acquisition, setup and learning, even remotely if necessary. GoL provides these free materials and tutorials so friends, family and facilities such as senior centers, libraries, nursing homes, etc. can help a techno-timid elder find the on-ramp to the information highway. You can find the app and web-versions of the tutorial, along with the Family Guides at: