Have you been finding it difficult to bridge the generation gap between you and your grandchildren or younger people in general?

I teach basic computer skills to Senior People on a voluntary basis in their homes, and at a local computer centre and the main question always seems to be, show me how to email my grandchildren.

On top of the generation gap we also have the problem of so many families being split up in different parts of the country or across the world.

One of the most basic skills to bridge the gap is emailing. If you join the younger generation and use their way of communicating, the gap is very quickly forgotten.

If you have a mobile phone finds out how to send text messages, another communicating skill seniors are not using. Its cheap and it works.

Most of you will have a built in Email in your computer such as Outlook Express. This is connected to your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Setting it up is very simple but you will need some information from your provider. Phone them and ask for it and then fill up the form and your away.

Another way and I think a better one, is to have an email that you can log into on any computer and in any country. While you are away travelling for instance. There are a lot, but the best I have found are Gmail and Hotmail. Both are free and take very little time or knowledge to set up. Just Google up Gmail and you will be directed to their email sign up site.

Before you start they will ask you for a user name and password. Decide on these and write them down before you start to fill up the information. There is a possibility you will not get what you want so be flexible and think it out before you start. Choose a few different combinations of password and login, i.e.; Password: David10 Login: dancestudio. Remember what ever you choose they will be case sensitive, so if you use only lower case it will always be lowercase, the same if you use a capital letter such a D and the rest lower case. It will always be, for example: David.

It is most likely you will have to use at least 6 digits. You might want to put your name, lets say Ann, then you would need to have at least 3 digits more, so why not Ann plus your birth year i.e. ann1947. Make up a few ideas and when you put them into the email program they will tell you what is available and also suggest alternatives as close as possible to the one you have asked for.

Do take a password that you are going to remember. You might have Login ann1947 and then you need a password such as 123456 any combination or a word. Try and always keep the same password and login in the future because trying to remember a lot of different ones is a nuisance. If you have a mobile phone put them in under New Contact so if you are out or away you will always have that with you. This is a good trick for keeping numbers, but make sure nobody else would have access to the information if you lost your phone.

When you first sign up for the account (it called an account but its free), they will ask you for secret questions only you would know. For example; where were you born? Or mothers maiden name? Pets name? Etc.This is for your safety so if you loose your information it can be recovered.

Thats all there is to it. Now you have an email account and can contact anyone in a flash.
One word of caution, do not download information unless you know who has sent it. Use the delete button on any suspicious emails.

You will find some emails called Junk. In the Junk folder. Remember to take a look at them every day because an important one may have slipped through. As you get used to your program you will find files for keeping information, how to upload photos and many other bits and pieces that will keep you in touch with your loved ones and they will think you are one cool grandparent. Its a win win situation

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