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What you can do online

The internet can be used for many things such as keeping in touch with people, entertainment, shopping and for fun.

Shopping Online

Shopping online is one of the most popular uses of the Internet. You can buy almost anything online, without having to leave your own home. Goods are often cheaper when you buy online, although you may have to pay a delivery charge.  Sometimes it is easier to have meals or food items delivered to your door so that you don’t have to go out, particularly in bad weather.

All of the major retailers and supermarkets have online shopping websites, as well as lots of small businesses. Auction websites, such as eBay sell new and second-hand items.

All reputable online retailers will have security measures to protect you from any risk of fraud. offers more advice about buying or selling online.

The following websites may also be of interest to you:

  • – A price comparison website, to help you to find the best deals when buying online.
  • – A website where you can often find discounted train tickets.
  • – a website where you can find advice on online shopping, including hints and tips on how to get the best deals.

How to pay for things online‘ is a short video from BBC WebWise which you might find helpful.

Watch TV Online

There are a number of websites available now where you can catch up on your favourite TV or radio programmes and some films for free.

  • BBC iPlayer where you can watch programmes from the last week from BBC channels
  • ITV Player where you can watch a range of ITV programmes
  • 4oD where you can  catch up on Channel 4 programmes or choose from their library of shows/films


Watch Films Online

There are a number of online websites where you pay a monthly subscription to watch as many films/TV shows as you like. This could be a more affordable option than paying for cable or satelite TV packages.

However you will need to use your internet connection to watch the films so please check with your internet provider that you have the right broadband package to allow you to do this. Some of these websites include;

  • Netflixpay a monthly subscription to watch films and TV programmes
  • Amazon Prime– pay a monthly subscription to watch films and TV programmes
  • YouTube – watch free videos and clips
  • Vimeo – watch free videos and clips

Music Online

Personal music players, such as the iPod, are very popular. People who use them can buy music via the Internet as ‘music downloads’. You can download every sort of music from the Internet.

You don’t have to have a personal music player to listen to music that you get from the Internet. Many computers have loudspeakers built in and you can buy speakers to plug into those that don’t.

You can also listen to the radio via the Internet. The following websites may be of interest to you;

  • BBC iPlayer – listen to all of the BBC radio channels live and also catch up on programmes that you’ve missed
  • Spotify – where you can register for free to listen to music
  • LastFM – A free online radio station where you can listen to music that you choose
  • Tunein – A free website where you can listen to radio stations from around the world and your local station too.

Listening online‘ is a short video from BBC WebWise which you might find helpful.

News Online

The Internet is ideal for keeping up to date with the news. You can check the latest news at any time from anywhere in the world, without having to wait for the daily newspaper or the scheduled bulletins on television and radio.

The following are some of the websites that you can get news from:

  • BBC News – International, national and local news from the BBC
  • Paperboy – Find the websites of local newspapers, or those of other countries

Each of the national newspapers also has their own website. These are listed below:

Tyne Sound News is a registered charity, part of the Talking Newspaper Federation and provides an audio recording service for the visually impaired. Recordings are sent to listeners throughout the North East of England and elsewhere. Three regular productions provide local news, entertainment and information.

Social networking and blogs

Social networking is a way of using your computer to talk to other people, make connections with new people, exchange pictures, invite people to an event; whatever you want to do.

Popular social networking websites include Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Digital Unite have some very helpful online guides introducing you to various computer basics, including one on social networking.

Blog is short for ‘web log’. It is like an online diary. You can choose to keep it private, share it with friends, or publish it to the whole world. The tools for creating a blog are free and are an easy way to produce your own website.

Several people can contribute to a blog, which means that blogs are useful for groups of people to exchange views or keep in touch with each other. A blog can also contain photographs, video clips or music.

There are many websites that you can use to create your own blog, including Google Blogger or WordPress.


If you would like to talk to people online about something technical – this includes accessing experts in WordPress or Drupal, then contact Meetup

History Online

If you can’t get to the museum, the museum can now come to you with two new websites which allow you to browse museum collections and interesting places in the North East. is an online exhibition allowing you to explore the history of the North East, as told through a ‘virtual exhibition’ of 100 objects held by museums, galleries and archives across the North East. is an online exhibition where you can explore 100 of the most historic places in the North East.

North East Film Archive is where you can watch many films for free, looking back at how things used to be in Newcastle. The films date from the early 1900’s to the present day. They cover a range of subjects, including rural and urban life, industry and agriculture, family life, holidays and leisure, and wartime in the region.

Other Useful Information

  • Digital Unite have a wide range of online guides to help you get to grips with things online including how to use Skype, digital music, photography, online shopping, banking, social networks and much more.
  • Making the most of the internet – Age UK guide
  • Mobile Phones article
  • Seeing Ear runs an online library which provides books in a flexible format that can be downloaded by library members.
  • is a website offering over 85,000 Old Time Radio programs available to be instantly listened to or downloaded for free.
  • Infosound is an information service for vision-impaired (blind and partially-sighted) people in Great Britain. They cover any subject that deals with the practical aspects of living with sight loss. They continuously broadcast information around the clock and also provide an on-demand service where individual audio features can be selected and heard.

Last updated: December 18, 2019

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