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What you can do online

Once you've got the hang of using an internet browser, there's so much to explore online.

We showed you how to keep in touch with friends and family by email in the last section, but you can also use the internet to pay your bills, do your shopping, watch TV programmes – and much more.

You'll soon discover your own favourite pages to visit, but for now we've put together a guide of some useful websites to get you started.

Using public services online

Using public services online

If you want to find out about services and benefits available to you, the Directgov website is a good place to start. You'll find the website at www.direct.gov.uk.

Directgov has lots of information on government services, all in one place. You can tax your car, renew your passport, learn more about your rights, pay council bills, apply for benefits and much more.

You can also find your local Council's website on Directgov for information about your local area – such as council tax or bin collection.

Staying healthy – the NHS online

Staying healthy with the NHS online

NHS Choices is the country's biggest health website and contains lots of information about the NHS. Here you can find trustworthy medical advice, guidance on healthy living, how to find and choose services and more.

Shopping on the internet

Shopping on the internet can help save you time and money, especially if getting out to the shops can be a problem.

You can buy pretty much anything online, from bus tickets to books, clothes to cruises. Most supermarkets offer an online service, so you can order your shopping from the comfort of your home and have it delivered when you want.

Comparison sites can help you save money by showing you prices and deals from a range of retailers. You can also read user reviews online, so you can get a better idea of what you're buying.

TV and radio

TV and radio

Did you know you can even watch TV programmes and listen to the radio online? There are lots of sites to choose from, but for example you can watch programmes on the BBC iPlayer for free.

BT Total Broadband also lets you have BT Vision – our on-demand digital TV service with thousands of shows, including sports, kids' channels, music videos, films and more.

Learn and socialise

The internet is a great way to find out about events and courses happening in your area, or local groups who are interested in the same things you are.

Search the internet using the name of the hobby or subject you'd like to know more about, or by the title of a nearby community centre or college. Use your internet search engine to find what you're looking for.

Talking and sharing

Keeping in touch with family and friends using the internet lets you do much more than just write!

Talking and sharing

If you have a webcam you can download a service provider that allows you to talk over the internet using video. Skype is probably the best known and it's free to download.

You can also view and share photographs online. Picture-sharing sites are one way of doing this, such as Flickr, or you can use an online file storage site like BT Digital Vault.

Online safety

You may have heard of computer viruses and although they might sound scary, there are steps you can take to ensure you are secure online.

A computer virus is a programme developed to infect your computer and cause damage. But by installing security software on your computer, you can minimise your chances of something going wrong.

There are various types of security software available, and BT Total Broadband comes with a range of computer security options.

Learn more about how to keep you and your family safe online with the BT internet safety and computer security guide.

Shopping

Although shopping over the internet is usually safe, you should only buy things from brands and shops you recognise and be cautious of unknown links.

Paying by credit card gives you extra protection should anything go wrong, but make sure you understand what you're being charged and never give anyone your PIN number. Also, check when you'll receive your order and how you can return the goods if you're not satisfied.

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Jargon Buster

  • Anti-virus

    Anti-virus software helps protect your computer from viruses. BT Total Broadband comes with anti-virus software included.

  • Homepage

    A homepage is normally the 'front page' of a website.

  • Installing

    When you add a new program to your computer, you 'install' it.

  • Don't understand what something means?

    Go to the Jargon Buster

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