Internet For the Elderly

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Internet For the Elderly

What is 68-year-old Chae Byong-son doing during his free time these days? Believe it or not he spends his free time hanging out in PC rooms teaching students how to build web pages.

Thanks to a teacher around his own age, Chae, who previously had never been to a PC room, can now surf the Internet and even build his own homepage. The teacher who taught Chae is Sim Yun-keun,a 64-year-old neighbor in the same apartment complex.

Sim, who retired from his ward official position in June of 1997, teaches the basics of using the Internet and computers to twenty other people; all in their 50-60s like Chae.

Sim, who used to use electric typewriters at the office, first used a computer in 1989 when he bought a XT computer and started learning the DOS system. It was still around the time when people ignored his invitation to sign up for a network ID with an indifferent shrug.

Honing his computer skills by reading computer-related books, Sim organized an amateur computer club at his workplace, the Songpa District Ward Office, where he shared his computer skills and experiences with his colleagues. Thanks to such efforts, Sim also came to leave his general office work to become the chief clerk of a computerized statistics bureau.

After his retirement, Sim started to study the Internet and related programming skills by participating in 'Saek Jong Ii,'an Internet homepage building club on the online service Netian.

"At first, just even the word HTML seemed very complicated and difficult, but after I learned 10 or more tags, HTML command codes,would do. Building one's own homepage has become so easy that all you need to do is click the mouse a few times. Age does not have anything to do with it anymore."

Sim say that teaching elderly 'computer illiterates' is espeically rewarding to him. Having made a learning corner at his homepage, simnet.pe.kr, Shim has already listed down his know-how on building homepages, the basics of HTML files, background images and more.
Sim's latest plan is to offer a special class called 'First Step Internet' especially for the analog generation in his neighborhood.




by Kim Song-Tak

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