The Great Debate UK

Silver Web surfers face unique challenges


Matthew Bath

-Matthew Bath is technology editor at Which? The opinions expressed are his own.-

Today’s children take PCs for granted. Comfortable with cursors and wonderful with Windows, children use PCs for everything from watching video clips on YouTube to logging onto school networks to virtually hand in homework.

Laptops are as essential to teaching kids as a blackboard and chalk, with interactive learning games, social networking, Wikipedia, and the astonishingly good value CBBC website forming a digital tapestry of learning that we barely give a second thought.

But a world of electronic education wasn’t always the case, as those who were the classes of the 1940s and 1950s will testify. Here is a generation of adults, now in their 50s and 60s, who simply didn’t have access to computers in the classroom. Lessons were text book rather than hypertext based, and networking was something that people did over a pint.

Age against the job machine


michelle_mitchell- Michelle Mitchell is Charity Director of Age Concern and Help the Aged. The opinions expressed are her own. -

Reports in the media about job losses are commonplace these days, with young people’s struggle to find work dominating coverage. Yet at the other end of the age spectrum, the lives and future prospects of older workers have been set in turmoil by the recession.