Sunday 18 February 2018

George has firmly got his hook into 'age-friendly' web

George Hook gives Colette English, of Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, a kiss at the Silver Surfer Awards' launch
George Hook gives Colette English, of Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, a kiss at the Silver Surfer Awards' launch
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

THE under-30s have masterminded a conspiracy to have people believe that technology is more complicated than it really is.

That's according to 70-year-old rugby pundit and technophile George Hook, who yesterday went to the epicentre of Dublin's computer heartland -- Google -- to encourage more over-50s to crack the internet.

Launching this year's Silver Surfer Awards, which is run by Age Action and Google, the irrepressible Hook said older people have nothing to fear.

"For the over-50s, we are the last generation that can do mental arithmetic, that can spell, that can use paragraphs and use grammar in our sentences. Why then should we be fearful of technology?" he asked.

But then Hook has always been one with his finger on the techno pulse.

"It goes all the way back to my days as a rugby coach, and I was using video tape to make coaching tapes," he said.

"I was the only one of my friends who could set the video recorder to tape the international matches because you had to use the timer."

The heyday of the VCR is long gone, so now he uses Skype, smartphones and his all-important laptop.

"My one fatal flaw is I don't back up. If I lose my laptop, I'm doomed because my whole life is in there," he said.

The radio presenter was joined by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte,who said people aged over 50 didn't get the opportunity to learn about computers when they were growing up. However, those who wanted to get a taste of it now could take part in basic skills courses that were offered by groups around the country.

Awards

The organisers of the awards are now looking for people across Ireland to nominate a friend, neighbour or relative who has made modern technology a part of their daily life. Nominations can be made by filling in an online form on Age Action's website or by phoning 01 4756989. Closing date for nominations is September 14.

Last year's overall winner, Dorothy Harrington (76), of Sandymount in Dublin, said it was never too late to give it a go. Frustrated after various estate agents were unable to sell her old house in Co Kilkenny after three years, she offered it for sale online through a website and sold it herself just two months later.

Irish Independent

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