BT Scotland is launching its annual search for internet whizz-kids who have shared their skills with the older generation. The BT Internet Ranger of the Year Awards 2010/11 are now open for registrations.
Any young person aged up to 16 years-old, who has taught an older person or group of older people basic computer skills and how to use the internet, is invited to apply.
Each national winner, from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a laptop plus £100 worth of vouchers for software/computer equipment. The overall UK winner will receive an additional £200.
Entries are also invited from schools or groups of schools working to help older people make the most of the internet. The winner of the BT Internet Rangers School Award will win a top prize of £4,000 and two runners up will receive prizes of £2,500.
Now in its eighth year, the BT Internet Ranger of the Year Awards was set up following research that found nearly a third of parents and grandparents were taught how to get online by youngsters aged between 13 and 16 years-old.
The awards have inspired hundreds more youngsters to help bridge the digital divide by helping older people acquire basic computer skills, equipping them with the confidence to access and benefit from using the internet.
The awards celebrate the most dedicated young internet teachers around the country. Last year’s Scottish winner was 12 year-old Jake Leitch from Kirkcaldy who was nominated by his mum Jackie after she suffered a stroke.
As well as helping out with everyday activities such as shopping, cooking, and washing, Jake gave his mum a new lease of life by teaching her valuable IT skills which helped her to regain the vocabulary she lost through the stroke and connect with people in similar situations.
Jake said: “I really enjoy using computers and it’s great that I can use them to help my mum too. I have found being a teacher challenging, but really fun and it has helped me understand more about caring for people who have had strokes.”
Martha Lane Fox, the Government’s Digital Champion, said: “BT’s Internet Rangers are working so hard to reduce the digital divide through intergenerational collaboration – it is truly inspirational and a step towards a remarkable and digital UK.”
Liz Turner, BT Scotland’s digital inclusion programme manager, said: “Not having the basic skills to get online means many older people miss out on important information and cheaper goods and services, even employment opportunities. BT Scotland wants to acknowledge and reward the fantastic work youngsters do as part of the Internet Rangers scheme. This type of intergenerational learning is a simple and obvious solution to promoting digital inclusion for all.”
Entry forms and more information about the awards can be found at the BT Internet Rangers website, www.btinternetrangers.co.uk.
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