You’d be forgiven for thinking emailing, skyping and WiFi are in the realm of teenagers.
But these web-savvy pensioners are showing you can still keep up to speed with the changing world, even in your 80s.
Former school dinners manager Norma Fairn, 82, from Marden in North Tyneside can now email her family as well as do her shopping and banking online.
Alongside dozens of others she attends workshops run by mobile provider EE and supported by charity Age UK to get the most out of her gadgets.
She said: “It’s important to keep up to date really because if you don’t you will be left behind. The internet is here to stay, it’s not going to go away.
“I pay all my gas and electric online and council tax and TV licence. I’m learning how to text and clear space on my phone.
“Once I’ve mastered texting I’ll be keeping in touch with family and friends and not just having to use the landline.”
Volunteer Poppy Foster who works at the EE offices at Cobalt Business Park in North Tyneside and helps run the sessions which are called ‘Techy Tea Parties’. She hopes more older people will become familiar with technology.
She said: “One woman wanted to see her grandson’s blog on his life in Australia so we showed her how to do that on an iPad. Another woman I’ve helped had her phone five years and didn’t know how to text.
“I think the biggest thing is how overwhelming people find the internet. Things like putting your personal bank details to pay for things online and trusting websites is something people need time to get used to and shown in a supportive way how to do it.”
The work of EE and Age UK with older people is being celebrated by the Go ON UK digital campaign which has launched in the North East last week.
Around half a million people in the region still lack basic online skills like sending emails, using a search engine and filling out online forms.
The campaign headed by dot com entrepreneur Baroness Martha Lane Fox aims to get 125,000 people online for the first time in six months.
At a launch in Gateshead last week she said how important it is economically to make sure people’s online skills are up to scratch.
Retired engineer Michael Brooks, 62, said he never needed to use computers in his line of work but since retiring has taken the plunge and bought a lap top.
The grandfather from Wallsend said: “It’s an age thing not using computers and the internet. I never needed them when I was working, I was a tradesman, but I’ve had my laptop four weeks and I’m getting more and more confident.
“We’re the age group that’s scared even looking at computers and we don’t want to touch anything in case it breaks. You hear stories about pressing one button and everything disappears!
“I’ve got a tremendous amount of photos of my grandchildren so it’s good to store them on my computer. Next I want to learn to send them an attachment so I can share them.”
The North East is the third worst region in the UK in terms of adults lacking basic online skills with 500,000 not regularly online.
Go ON UK also hopes to tackle the fact only a third of small to medium-sized companies in the region have a digital presence and just 14% sell their products online.