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43% of 55 to 74 year olds use the web frequently

Net offers a great way of staying in touch with friends and family

More than two in five (43 percent) of Brits aged 55 to 74 use the internet frequently, says Age UK.

Research by the charity, in conjunction with Eurostat, revealed that Luxembourg is number one when it comes to older generations using the web, with 58 percent of its residents aged 55 to 74 online. The UK ranks seventh and is also behind Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland. However, the UK has surpassed the EU average of 28 percent.

Furthermore, nearly two thirds (63 percent) of those over 65 that have used the net say they feel more in touch with friends and family. However, there are still six million Brits aged 55 to 74 that have never experienced the benefits of the web.

With this in mind, Age UK has launched the myfriends online campaign, which runs until March 27. The charity is calling for Brits that use the web frequently to pass their skills onto members of the older generation that have never been online.

Age UK's research also revealed that nearly a quarter (24 percent) of over 65s that haven't been online believe the web would be useful way of keeping in contact with friends and family more easily.

Margaret Goodwin, who wa snamed Age UK's Internet Champion of the Year for 2011, said: "Having recently retired I was concerned that life might become lonely, however the internet has ensured that this is not the case."

"I regularly use the internet to keep in touch with friends and family around the world and have also got back in contact with family I had lost touch with. I've even tried internet dating! If I can do it there is no reason why other people in later life can't."

Helena Herklots, services director at Age UK, said if everyone helps one older person they know to get online, the UK's older population could surf their way to the top of the European table, helping in the battle against social isolation along the way.

See also: Super-fast broadband will benefit elderly & disabled


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