How does the internet affect the older generation?

The internet is something that most of us don’t go a day without using. Children have computer lessons in school, ‘to google’ has become a verb, and I can’t remember the last time I saw someone look up a word in a physical dictionary rather than an online one.


But for the older generations, the internet is something relatively new. If you’ve ever had to show your grandparents how to use Google, or how to get internet on their phones, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Whilst young people are now growing up with lessons on the internet as a staple part of their education, the older generations aren’t so lucky, and for the most part have to figure it out on their own.


For some older folk, the internet and their lack of understanding of it, means that the development of this technology affects them in ways that younger generations might never consider.


Older generations struggle to master new technology and it can be disheartening


You might get frustrated every time your Grandma asks you for help with finding something online, but what most people don’t think about is how difficult it can be to master something completely new.


The prime time for learning new things is childhood, not the later years of your life. Whilst children and young people pick things up pretty quickly, older generations don’t have that ability. They might have stopped applying themselves to learning a long time ago, especially if they spent a lot of time a secure but repetitive job, and so it’s difficult for them to activate that part of the brain again. It’s like trying to lift weights after not having been to the gym for years. So bear with them, because it’s a lot harder for older generations, regardless of how quickly you picked it up. Trying to understand the internet can feel like learning a whole new language.


Older generations also struggle physically with a lot of technology. Poor eyesight can make it difficult to read screens, so even typing things into a search bar could prove a struggle. Things like arthritis can also affect their ability to master the internet, as tapping away on phones or keyboards can cause a lot of pain. Whilst they may be determined to use the internet, doing so might actually and literally be a pain.


The internet provides a whole new online world, one that older generations can feel left out of


We’ve all had experiences of feeling left out, so no matter what your age, you can surely empathise with this.


The internet is a whole other world from what older generations have been living. People are using it to talk to each other, shop, learn, work remotely, everything! And many older adults feel cut off from this. Whilst everyone else is constantly using the internet for something, half living in the virtual world through social media and messenger sites, older adults can feel like they’re alone in the real world.


Think about how many people you see walking through the street, their eyes glued to their phones. Then imagine that you don’t have a phone. Suddenly no one seems approachable, and there’s definitely no chance of a friendly passing chat.


So to sum up…


Not understanding and not being a part of something can feel awfully lonely. The internet affects older generations in ways that we probably didn’t realise.


So if any older adult asks you to help them with something, rather than giving a sigh of inconvenience, smile instead and give them a little of your time. Remember how frustrating and disheartening it can be not knowing what to do, and how upsetting it can be, feeling like you’re not included.


How can the internet help studying?

The internet contains millions of websites full of information and resources that can help young people study for school and exams. Answers to complex questions can be found on Google in under 1 second! With such quick and easy access to so much information, the internet is helping more and more students study every day.


Easy access to study materials


The main way that the internet benefits studying is of course the easy access it provides to study materials. Millions of websites are dedicated to providing learning resources and information for students and they can be easily found within a few seconds.


Most schools also have learning portals, so that students don’t even have to look very far for relevant resources. They can simply log on to the learning portal, and find resources that contain exactly what they need to excel under their specific exam board.


If students have different learning styles, with the millions of online resources they’ll be sure to find the right resources for them, ones that suit their style of learning. For example, some people learn better with visual aids. There are thousands of YouTube channels dedicated to helping students learn visually, and that’s only on one site!


The internet encourages independent study


Sometimes, individuals struggle to learn in the same way or at the same pace as the rest of their class, and it can have a negative impact on their studies and on their final grades if they don’t grasp what’s going on in class.


The internet allows for such students to go away and go over everything by themselves, at their own speed. Young people know their way around the internet like they know the back of their hand, so they’re easily able to find sites with the best learning resources for them. This means they don’t have to rely so heavily on their teachers and classes for all of the information they need to learn. In fact, it means that if there’s disruption with teaching (which can often happen in circumstances such as teachers leaving for maternity leave or illness), then students are able to almost teach themselves a lot of the syllabus.


Politics is impossible to ignore


Grasping history and politics used to require reading newspapers about current affairs, and text books about history. Whilst this might still assist in studying for these subjects, it’s not the only way to pick up relevant information anymore.


Politics is literally everywhere now, thanks to the internet. Social media sites are plastered with shared news stories, and news website send alerts directly to mobile phones, so it’s become impossible for anyone to ignore current affairs. The more up to date students are on the current political situation, the more they’ll be able to understand the situations of history, comparing and contrasting politics of then and now.


Students can now study at any time


Before the internet, late night studying was hard if you hadn’t already made a trip to the library. But now, students can study at any hour they wish, even if they haven’t yet collected any resources.


Digital libraries mean that students can access eBooks and critical essays whenever they like, so if they fancy some late night studying, there’s no restrictive opening hours to abide by.


A lot of assignments are also required to be sent in over email, rather than in person. This means that students can hand in assignments at a time that is convenient to them (before the deadline though obviously).


Communication over the internet


A lot of students prefer studying in groups, or are even assigned group projects. Emails, social media and messaging sites allow for students to collaborate on projects, or discuss ideas and effectively study together, without even having to be together.


This can help with individual study as well as group study as often it can be good to get a fresh opinion from someone less invested in a project. Sites like Google Docs mean that students can proofread and edit each others work and support each other through projects and assignments that might otherwise be stressful.


Education is available to everyone


The internet has allowed for more people to learn from home. This is incredibly convenient for those that can’t get to a school easily, or older folk who just want to learn a little more about a subject.


There are resources online for parents to effectively teach their children at home, and plan lessons in line with specific exam board’s requirements. This means that regardless of where children are taught, they can receive the same standard of education.


There are also online educational institutions, like the open university, that allows people to learn and become an expert in a subject they are passionate about, whilst also fitting their studies around their own lives. This is great for those whose time is often tied up with parenting or jobs.

Advantages of using internet at schools

Everywhere uses internet nowadays, especially schools. In fact, it’s become a vital part of learning. Teachers are able to plan and research lessons more easily, and young people are able learn in a modern way. There’s no denying that the internet has helped education come a long way in the last couple of decades. Here are some of the main advantages of having internet in schools.


Learning doesn’t have to cost students anything


Before the internet, students often bought their own books to study from, which meant that the grades of those that couldn’t afford it suffered.


Books aren’t cheap, and when you’re studying for a whole load of different subjects, it can be pricey to buy books covering every topic. Now that almost everyone has access to the internet, this isn’t so much a problem anymore, as most of the information required for exams and standard school syllabuses is available online. Whether students have their own methods of accessing the internet, or just use the school computers, they’ve got access to all the resources they could need.


It provides the latest research


The internet also has webpages added everyday with the latest research and findings. Before, books would become outdated as new discoveries were made, and more money would have to be spent on acquiring the latest versions. With the internet readily available, young people can quickly find the latest news and academic research.


Career planning through the internet


A big part of schooling is preparing young people for what comes next – a career. There isn’t always time for teachers to plan as many lessons as they’d like on career planning, but use of the internet allows the suggestion of specific career planning websites, so that if young people find themselves at a loss for what to do, there’s a wealth of information and websites online that can steer them in right direction.


Whichever path they think they might like to go down, no matter how obscure, there’ll always be enough information online for them to be able to take the right steps to reach their goals.


It makes lessons and research more enjoyable


The internet has become a part of young peoples’ lives, so to incorporate it into lessons can boost excitement to learn, and make lessons more enjoyable. Technology is generally the area of expertise for most young people, so using it for learning gives them their time to shine.


There are also now a lot of online educational games, so that students can learn in fun and interactive ways. This is good for those who have different styles of learning, as often generic lessons don’t cater to those who learn more effectively with visual and interactive methods.


The internet provides a range of ways that students can learn in visual ways. PowerPoints, images, animations and even YouTube videos can be a more interesting and effective way of learning.


The internet allows for effective communication


Think about how many times children are given letters to give to their parents, and then think about how many times those letters actually make it to their parents. If my school days are anything to go by, then there’s a big difference in those numbers.


Now that schools are equipped with internet, letters are being sent out via email instead, so that they definitely reach parents, rather than remaining crumpled at the bottom of book bags and lunch boxes. This has improved communication between schools and parents, and is also a lot better for the environment.


Using the internet is actually saving the planet


Schools use more paper than any other institution, text books, exercise books, hand outs and letters all use tons of paper, and as we know, that’s not great for the environment. But use of the internet allows for less use of paper, as students can read books online, or on kindle, and they can type on laptops rather than in exercise books. Even things like interactive whiteboards mean that teachers don’t need to produce so many hand outs – information can just be shown to classes on the big screen.


Using the internet in schools teaches pupils more about technology


We are currently in a quickly developing age of technology, so it’s important that students are able to confidently use many different forms of technology. There aren’t many jobs or leisure activities that don’t rely on technology any more, so for young people to grow up with a hesitant approach to technological devices would mean they’d be somewhat behind the times.


Internet usage in schools allows students to explore technology in an environment where they can ask questions, and independently discover and research, without stumbling across the wrong sites!


Students can learn any time and anywhere with access to the internet


A lot of schools now have their own learning portals online, which means that students can learn any time and anywhere. Before the internet, access to resources were restricted to school hours, and library opening hours, but now students can revise at any hour. This is great for those young people who prefer late night learning, or last minute revision.

It’s also good for teachers, as there’s no excuse for not being able to complete homework. Even if students go away for the weekend, or take a holiday during term time, as long as they still have internet access they can still complete the school work.


A lot of learning portals also allow teachers to see what students have accessed, when they last used the learning portal and how long they spent on it. So for students, there’s no way of claiming to have done work they haven’t even looked at.


Students can easily complete group projects


Group projects can be a nightmare, especially if no one’s free on the same day to meet up and get things done. The internet allows students to communicate about projects over email or social media, so that delegation can begin, even if they’re not together at the time.


There are also sites that allow for students to collaborate on projects in real time. Take Google Docs for example, students can all work on the same document at the same time. They can see everyone’s input and edit it, or offer feedback and improvements.