Helping others get online

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown, many of us who are fluent in the language of technology take it for granted that we can still carry out much of our daily lives through the internet, from banking to food shopping, to meeting our friends and making music together. But there are many people who would like to do this and have no idea how to get online.

Perhaps they have never had the need to go online before and don’t want to ask. Maybe they have even tried before and failed to join in and are too embarrassed to say so.

Is there anyone like that in your group? If so, you might be able to revolutionise their lockdown by sharing your knowledge and helping them access the riches of online communication.

Where do you start with supporting others to get online? 

  • Offer a phone chat to people that haven’t made an appearance (if you’ve had regular group online meet-ups) and ask them during the conversation if they would like to join in and whether they might like a hand with getting set up online or with any other technological problems they are having with connecting.
  • If they take up the offer of help, be sure to listen and be guided by their preferences, e.g. let them choose the online device they want to use, whether it’s a laptop or a tablet or phone. 
  • Start simple – what would they like to achieve? Do they want to know how to meet face-to-face online, or would they prefer an online chat one-to-one?
  • Make sure they can set themselves up in a suitable space at home where they can hear properly and sit comfortably, with enough light.
  • Agree beforehand how long you are going to spend, and what you’re going to show them how to do. Don’t try to do too much in one go or this could be counter-productive and leave them feeling overwhelmed.
  • Explain things at a suitable pace, without using jargon, and check regularly that the person is keeping up with what you’re teaching them. Encourage them to take notes if they can.

The website provides free guidance, top tips and support for remote ‘Digital Champions’ that you could share with the person you’re helping. Here are just a few of the topics they cover:

  • Computer basics and Smartphones and tablets are step-by-step guides for complete beginners. Advice starts with how to choose the right device to buy, how to use Windows 10, how to fill in an online application form, what a dropbox is and how to use it and more.
  • Using the internet starts with the very basics of how to connect to Wifi, how to speed up your broadband, searching and browsing, and how to bookmark pages.
  • Internet security gives key info on how to protect yourself from identity theft, guidance on antivirus software, and data protection. And our own resource on Staying safe online gives detailed advice on how to spot and avoid scams, and more.
  • Email and Skype includes guides on setting up and using an email account, how to download Skype and make calls, and how to use a webcam.
  • Music and audio gives tips on how to download music, listen to and make CDs, and use iTunes and Spotify.
  • Social networking and blogs helps with getting set up on Facebook and Twitter, how to join a local social network, and how to find blogs to follow.
  • Online collaboration tools and remote working rounds up the best video calling apps, and some basics about meetings online. 

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.