How to be safe on the internet

How to be safe on the internet

Learn to use the Internet safely and sensibly

A beginner-friendly course at Whitmore Community Centre, Friday afternoons in December 2022

NB: this course has finished.

Enjoy all the advantages of being online – avoid the risks

You are an internet citizen now, so wouldn’t it be nice to spend your online time in those parts of the internet where there are no risks, no exploitation, no deceit?

It’s easily done, because that is still most of the internet. It’s still about contact and communication with friends, family and people you could never have met in any other way — inhabited by optimists who are expanding their horizons and learning more about the real world that they return to safely when they switch off their device.

Join our course, and use our safe smartphones to explore and understand how the internet works – for you.

Online safety first

This is about your safety concerns, not about devices. For your personal security – you will not use your own device, your own email address or your own phone number as part of the course.

Everyone will use our safety-first smartphones – set up for older people who don’t have a lot of internet experience – so we can all focus together on what is really important.

You are welcome to bring your own device if you want to – but we cannot offer 1:1 help with it. That’s because we don’t have time to help individuals when there are 11 other people on the course. This approach always works best for everybody.

Venue: Whitmore Community Centre


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

Email on your phone or tablet

Get on top of email

Friday 28 October

NB: this workshop has finished.

Improve your life in one afternoon

Email is arguably the most important internet technology, because it’s the key that opens the door to everything else that you might need – including all transactions – shopping, health, utilities, work, education, local & national government – and all social media.

Email has been with us for a long time – but it was never intended for a small screen. Although the app designers have done their best, most older people struggle with phone-sized email.

At the workshop we will unpick your experiences — whatever they are — and find solutions – so you can go home at least one rung further up the email ladder, hopefully feeling better about yourself.

Venue: Whitmore Community Centre


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

How to search the World-Wide Web on your phone or tablet

An older man (post-retirement age, but not elderly) is looking at a smartphone with a puzzled expression on his face. He has lifted his glasses to indicate that he needs a closer view of the screen.

Find information about the cost of living crisis and how to survive it

21 October 2022

NB: this workshop has finished.

It’s not always easy on a small screen

The primary content of the World-Wide Web is information, advice, opportunities, inspiration, contact and communication — for everyday life as well as education and business. This workshop is about how you can actively search for what you need.

We will start with basic beginner-level web search, and then progress as time allows. We suggest a focus on the cost of living because it is a major concern now, but we can follow up any topic that interests the group.

Search engines have become very sophisticated — but sometimes quite challenging on a small screen. Formulating a good search query requires practice and a basic understanding of how search engines work.

Try these five cost of living search queries in the Google search engine —

Different results of course, but are they the results you would need for your search on cost of living information? If you put the same searches into other search engines (eg: Bing, DuckDuckGo) you might notice even greater differences.

If you use a small screen, you probably want to keep web search as simple as possible, and you might like to feel that you are in control — and perhaps you would appreciate results that are genuinely useful, accurate and unbiased. This workshop will help you get there.

Venue: Whitmore Community Centre


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

The 50-Plus Data Bank

A young woman wearing a HausOfShee top and a much older African-Caribbean man. They are examining the contents of a SIM card pack.
Whitney and Walter at the Digital Drop-in – with a Data Bank SIM card

Free internet connectivity for eligible older people

Updated 26 September 2023

NB: we have allocated all the SIM cards provided by the National Databank.


Brief version of the deal

If you are surviving on a low income and you can’t afford your current internet connection, you are eligible for a free data plan and SIM card for your phone.

All you have to do is bring your unlocked phone to any Wednesday afternoon Digital Drop-in at Mildmay Community Centre.

The longer version is below …


Our databank for people aged 50 or better

Are you eligible for a free mobile data plan?

You should be living on a low income — and you need mobile data for internet connection — and you meet at least one of the following criteria …

  • You have no access or insufficient access to the internet at home,
  • or – you have no or insufficient access to the internet when away from
    home,
  • or – you cannot afford your existing monthly contract or top up.

You will need a phone that you already know how to use, or that you are learning to use on a course for older beginners.

Your phone should be unlocked (or compatible with the databank SIM card).


The free mobile data plans

O2 data

  • A plan with 20 GB mobile data, plus unlimited calls and text messages.
  • The plan will refresh when you respond to a monthly text message.
  • The plan will expire after six months, but can be renewed for a further six months if you need it.

Three data

  • A plan with 24 GB mobile data.
  • The 24 GB data is a total – it does not refresh monthly.

How does it work in practice?

If you are eligible …

  • A staff member or authorised volunteer will put the SIM card in your phone.
  • After you have signed for the SIM card, we will register it with the national databank and then activate it.

Our primary base will be the Wednesday afternoon drop-in at Mildmay Community Centre.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I keep my existing phone number?
  • I have a long-term contract that I cannot afford. Am I eligible?
    • Not while you still have the long-term contract. Please check the termination fee before you consider cancellation.
    • However, O2 have indicated that they will consider individual cases where an O2 contract might be replaced by a databank O2 plan. We would contact O2 on your behalf.
  • Does it make any difference where I live?
    • No!

How to manage photos on your phone or tablet

Move your photos from your device to somewhere else

14 October 2022

NB: this workshop has finished.

Easy solutions to a hard problem

This workshop will tackle one of the most common problems for people who take photographs on a smartphone or tablet — what to do when the device is full — and anyway, how to manage hundreds, or even thousands, of photos.

There are many solutions for people who are not professional photographers. We will look at the easy solutions first because there is almost certainly one for you.

Venue: Whitmore Community Centre


See also page: Learning – courses and workshops

50-Plus Databank – free SIM cards for older people

A young woman wearing a HausOfShee top and a much older African-Caribbean man. They are examining the contents of a SIM card pack.
Whitney, Data Bank SIM card, Walter

50-Plus Digital has joined the National Databank scheme

The National Databank

You can read about this scheme at the main website – goodthingsfoundation.org/databank

Think of it like a food bank but for internet connectivity data – a free SIM card with a free mobile data plan.

Our local 50-Plus Databank

The scheme has started. You can read about it on page The 50-Plus Databank.