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BT - Children Help Adults To Get Online
By: MarkJ - 26 November, 2003 (1:26 PM)

BT has launched a new scheme, known as Internet Rangers, which aims to enlist the support of children in tackling the problems of digital exclusion by using them to help get the rest of their family online:


Hope is being pinned on children as young as five years old to help expand internet usage across the nation.

New research from BT has proved that children - particularly young teenagers - are the most effective spur to encourage reluctant parents or grandparents onto the world wide web. Nearly a third of parents and grandparents - 32% - have been taught or encouraged to surf the internet by a child aged between 13 to 16 years.

And it's not just teenagers who are helping to bridge the digital divide - nearly one in five parents and grandparents -19% - have either learnt a new skill or been educated via the web following online help from a five to eight year old.

One in four parents or grandparents - 24 per cent - use email and more than one in ten - 13 per cent - now shop online, following encouragement and help from a young relative.

BT has today launched the first stage of a new campaign - Internet Rangers - which aims to enlist the support of children in tackling the problems of digital exclusion. A new child friendly website www.internetrangers.co.uk provides tools and advice helping youngsters to get their families online.

Lack of confidence is a major barrier, which prevents many adults from using technology. Four in ten parents admit they have to depend on their child when online. And relying on a young relative for IT help is leaving one in ten parents and grandparents feeling embarrassed and more than a quarter - 27 per cent - feeling out of touch.

Many of the parents and grandparents surveyed are determined to improve their skills. More than a third - 39 per cent - claim that they want to learn more and nearly one in three - 31 per cent - want to catch up with their kids.

BT plays an active role in tackling the issue of digital inclusion and has undertaken a series of activities to help increase access to technology in communities across the UK.

Mike Hughes, head of the BT digital inclusion campaign, said: "Children are very confident using technology and it makes sense for parents and grandparents to tap into their skills and knowledge. These youngsters can play a key role in helping to bridge the digital divide and we're hoping that the Internet Rangers campaign is a step towards achieving this aim."

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