As their first class began Thursday morning at Sacramento's Ethel M. Hart Senior Center computer lab, three students listened carefully as the instructor introduced them to some basics.
"We're going to learn key words," said David Hatter, 31, as he used a laser pointer to direct their attention to his monitor, projected onto a screen in front of the class.
"This is your desktop. These are called icons. This is your background. Down here is your start button. Go ahead and feel free to click it."
And they did, taking their first brave steps into life online.
Older people are crossing into the frontier of the Internet at increasing numbers: The biggest rise in Internet use since 2005 occurred among the 70- to 75-year-old age group, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Forty-five percent of that group is now online.
People 55 and older make up 31 percent of the country's total adult population – and, according to the project, 24 percent of the online population.
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