If you're not used to modern technology, getting online for the first time can seem like a daunting prospect.

However, once you're all set up. you'll realise that there are huge advantages to embracing the digital world.

We've gathered some information below to help you get started with the basics.

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To get started you'll need some kind of device - a desktop computer, laptop or tablet.

If you're hoping to be able to use your device in different locations, it would be best to consider a laptop or tablet as they're more portable than a desktop computer which is built to stay in one place.

Full speed

You'll also need to consider specifications, like the speed of your machine and how much storage it has.

This can get complicated, so if you're not sure about what you need, you can speak to a friend or family member who is more clued up. Alternatively, customer assistants in stores can give advice, too.

Let's go surfin'

Now you have your machine ready, you need to connect to the internet.

To do this, you'll need an internet service provider. Again, this can be a minefield to negotiate so speak to someone more experienced than you if you can. You can also use comparison websites like Compare the Market to compare deals and make sure you get the best bang for your buck.

Once you've agreed a deal with an internet service provider, they'll let you know details about installation and setup of WiFi in your home.

If you'd rather not commit to a broadband deal from an internet service provider, you can also get pay-as-you-go dongle deals which can sometimes work out cheaper if you're not going to be online often.

Just browsing

You're nearly there! Now all you need is an internet browser. This is how you can access websites on your device.

There are different options available for desktop computers and laptops, with the most popular being Chrome, Firefox and Edge. If you're on a tablet, a browser such as Safari is likely to be pre-installed on your device.

Email allows you to send messages instantly to anyone around the world - amazing, right?

You can stay in touch with friends or family, make enquiries at businesses you're interested in or even subscribe to updates and newsletters from your favourite brand, musician or sports star!

You can also register with other online services using your email address. It's really easy to get set up too.

There are several services you can use, with the most popular being Gmail and Outlook, but they all have similar features and safety considerations.

Everybody's talking about 'Zoom' nowadays! But what exactly is it?

Zoom, Skype and Teams are video chat applications which allow you to speak to and see anyone else who has an account. Conversations happen in real time and it's just like meeting up with someone else.

Think of it as a telephone call where you can actually see the person you're speaking to (so long as they have their webcam turned on!).

Video calling is included in your monthly fee, as long as you stick to the agreement made with your internet service provider. If you use a pay-as-you-go dongle, you may find that video calling can be quite expensive as it uses up a lot of your data allowance.

Social media is another medium that allows us to interact online and has become particularly popular over the last decade.

You can publish to social media and keep up with the latest updates from accounts you're interested in by using a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone that's connected to the internet.

There are lots of different social media platforms and you can sign up to as many or as few as you wish! We've outlined a few below along with what they tend to be used for.



An extremely popular platform which allows you to create a personal profile, share updates, post photos, send messages to others, join groups, find out about events and much more!

Like us on Facebook!



Post bite-sized updates about anything you fancy and share your thoughts and opinions with others. Find like-minded people, keep up to date with breaking news and follow as many accounts as you dare keep up with!

Follow us on Twitter!



Taken a great photo recently? Get it on Instagram! This is the best place to upload all of those dreamy sunset photos and beautiful selfies.

Follow us on Instagram!


There are plenty more social media platforms but these are the basics. Get used to these and then explore some more!

Broadband Choices: Lots of excellent guides on all things digital, written for beginners!

Net Aware: The NSPCC have produced this guide to social networks, games and apps so you can get clued up and pick up tips on how to stay safe online.

Grimsby Institute: The Grimsby Institute offers beginner courses in IT and digital skills, many of which are free of charge to enrol on.

Lincs Inspire: The Lincs Inspire libraries, including Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Immingham libraries, all offer digital support and WiFi access.

North East Lincolnshire Council: Find out where you can get support locally, discover where you can get access to free WiFi, and even find a digital buddy!

BBC Bitesize: Free online courses in all things digital and suitable for both complete beginners and high-tech whizz-kids.

BBC News: Find free news and articles on current affairs, sport and more - or catch up with the latest BBC shows on iPlayer - all for free.

Wikipedia: An online encyclopedia where you can find information on just about anything - but remember to check the information elsewhere to make sure it's true.

Spotify: Listen to music for free on the go through your laptop, tablet or mobile phone!

Money Saving Expert: Finance expert Martin Lewis shares lots of tips to help you save money.

Found a useful resource we haven't included? Know an organisation or group we could be signposting to? Contact us and let us know!