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Seniors Held Back from Internet by Poor English

Not knowing English, lack of instructions and poor memory are holding senior citizens back from using the Internet, a recent study showed.


But the Shanghai Committee for the Aging is trying to encourage seniors whenever possible, explain the Internet and how to use it.


It recently surveyed 5,000 seniors with an average age of 60.8.


Tang Hongjun, a 58-year-old man, recently mastered online skills.


"I found my world became wider," he said. "Now I read news online and chat with my new net friends every day in the office."


"I never think I am too old to learn the computer and the Internet," Tang said.


Among those interviewed, 75.2 percent have computers at home.


"There is a computer at my home," said Tang Meihua, a 55-year-old retiree. "But most of the time only my daughter uses it."


Tang said she doesn't know English. "So I can not type words, or Website addresses."


But she was very interested in shopping online because it is often cheaper.


"It's a pity that I can't operate it," she said.


The survey showed only 22.6 percent of seniors log on the Internet every day. In addition, seniors said poor memory and the lack of suitable instructions all undermined their interest in the Internet.


The Shanghai Committee for the Aging aims to give more seniors access and to help 100,000 seniors over 60 master Internet surfing by the end of next year.


The survey showed that 78.6 percent of interviewees said Web surfing can improve their life quality; 61.3 percent said it can increase communication with outside world as well as young people.


(Shanghai Daily October 24, 2005)

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