Published by Leyre Velasco, November 2011

If you know somebody who is NOT one of the estimated total number of 2.095 billion – 30.2% – of world population of Interner users this article might be worth sharing.

The reasons why there are still many non-digital people are varied but more so it is a combination of socio-economic reasons. Some people think that they are too old or it is too late for acquiring computer skills, some people simply do not have the means to afford a computer.

What are you missing?

In short, the Internet enables new ways of social interaction and features widespread usability and access. What’s more, information about any topic to different degrees of complexity can be found online.

What if buying a computer is not an option?

You don’t need to make daily use of the Internet in order to take advantage of the aforementioned benefits. For sporadic use you don’t even need to purchase a computer as you can go to Internet cafes, which are available pretty much everywhere. These places provide internet access usually at a time-base rate but in any case, this way of accessing the net is more affordable than personal ownership of equipment. Or, you can always buy a smart phone with an Internet connection, but we will discuss that in a future post 😉

What if they are computer illiterate?

Don’t panic! Nobody was born knowing everything about anything. There are plenty of online guides for Internet beginners, but, of course, in order to read them, you first need to go online. Therefore, let us explain in plain English the very basic in order for you to be able to start using the Internet or, as it is said, “to surf the net” 🙂 .

Step 1: Access your Internet Browser

Double-click on the browser icon which is usually located at the Desktop of your computer. The most used browsers are Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

If the icons are not available from the Desktop, and if your Operating System is Windows, go to Start, Programs, Nameofyourbrowser

For example, say you have Internet Explorer, go to Start, Programs, Internet Explorer.

Whatever page is set as default will automatically be displayed.

Right, now you are on!

Step 2: Get started with a search engine

We suggest you started getting familiar with a search engine as soon as possible, as it will be your gateway to the online universe.

But, what is a search engine? A search engine is designed to search for information on the www (world wide web). You can search for web pages containing data, images, videos, news, etc. The three most popular search engines are:

  • Google (91%)
  • Yahoo (4%)
  • Bing (3%)

Say you want to use Google.  Simply type in the web address in the Address field at the top of the page.

From that moment on, whenever you want to search for information, just type in the keywords of your search in the search field and press Enter on your keyboard.

I hope the image below clarifies it:

Step 3: Selecting results

After typing in the keywords of your search, it is likely that you will get numerous results. How to know which page is more reliable than others? Well, as a general rule, organizations and government pages are normally more reliable than independent or personal websites. But even these can be biased or one-sided.

So, often use your common sense and don’t forget to protect your computer with a good antivirus program. Check out Panda’s!


The search engine will give you access to “everything”, however, here go a few examples of very useful pages:

  • Netlingo: Glossary on basic computer terms.
  • Wikipedia: Collaborative encyclopaedia on pretty much any subject. Users have globally and gradually built knowledge. It is quite reliable but check the sources of the articles just in case.
  • Skype: Site which allows for free telephone calls to people you know anywhere in the world. If your computer has a webcam, you can see the people you talk to in real time.
  • Facebook: This is the most used social network in the world, with over 500 million users, the average age being 38!
  • Flickr: Site to share pictures with your friends and acquaintances.
  • Youtube: check out videos of your favourite artists, TV interviews, even from when TV was in black and white.. free!
  • Grooveshark: Listen to your favourite music completely free!