If you know someone who would benefit from being online, here are some useful links and suggestions to help them get started.

There are three ways to people can go online

  • Landline provider: If they have a phone line you can contact their landline supplier and find out about their internet deals.
  • Mobile phone provider: If they already have a mobile phone it might be as simple as swapping to a smartphone. You can even buy SIM cards for tablets, just check the tablet can take a SIM card.
  • With a mobile internet connection: Even without a landline, it’s still possible to get online. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile phone companies offer dongles. A dongle is a small box that you can use to connect your computer, tablet or phone to the internet. It can be used anywhere.

Whatever way works best for them, companies will usually deliver equipment and provide help to get set up. If you’re not sure who their phone provider is, or you want to search for the best deals to help get someone online, here are some useful websites and tips to help. A good place to start is The Money Advice Service or Money Saving Expert


Buying a computer or tablet can be expensive. You can buy from a high street shop, or there are some more cost effective alternatives.

  • Getonline@home supply cut price laptops and computers to people on low incomes and charities.
  • Choose.co.uk give advice on funding and schemes to find funding that can be used to buy technology.

There are several trusted companies offering equipment at reduced prices. They are usually reconditioned machines. All have high Trustpilot scores.

Note: A listing here is not a recommendation

Digital help to get family and friends online

Advice on how to get online and how to use apps and programmes.

  • Age UK information for people who are looking to boost their confidence online and get more out of using the internet
  • AbilityNet (0800 048 7642) Free personalised guidance, troubleshooting and assistance to older people and individuals living with any disability to get online
  • BT advice on how to help a friend or family member get online.
  • Digital Unite provide guides to all things digital from social media to online shopping.
  • Learn My Way courses on video conferencing tools like Skype and FaceTime to help you keep in touch.
  • The Skills Toolkit Free digital and numeracy courses to build your skills.
  • Top Tips on Tech is a series of videos and guides from BT and ITV to help people learn about different technologies and how to get the most out of them.

Tips for helping someone get started online

Make it relevant to them. Let them know the things that are available that they might be interested in. It could be handy for ordering groceries, or reading and listening to books. There are tons of activities, from sport to crafting, available online. If a person has a hobby they will find something online to interest them.

Be patient and go slowly. Getting used to something new is difficult, especially when it’s something completely alien. Take your time to explain, and be patient. It can take time to get the hang of something new. So you might need to go over things a few times. Make sure they have plenty of time to practise themselves, and try not to take over. Some of the jargon used can be confusing if you’re not used to it, so try to keep it simple.

Good reasons for going online

If someone is resistant to getting online, talking to them about the things they can do online is a good place to start.

  • There are lots of great ways for staying in touch with family and friends, no matter where they are in the world. From email to Zoom, you can even see people on video chat!
  • You can do your banking online, saving time queuing and avoiding trips out and phone calls to deal with your finances
  • Shopping online is a great way to save money and at this time, find the things you need without having to leave the house.
  • There are endless opportunities to take virtual tours and trips to places of interest such as National Parks and museums. You can also take in a show or two online. It’s like sitting in the audience without leaving your house!
  • There is a vast amount of information online. Handy for people studying or for children doing homework. Also useful if you’re a bit of a quizzer or just interested in finding out about the world.
  • More and more jobs are advertised online now. You can even apply for them directly or add your C.V. to job websites, so potential employers can find you.