Generations on Line can
help elders with lots of tasks:

• Using the Internet, email, apps, Zoom, etc.
• Accessing vaccination sites
• Using telehealth
• Job hunting online
• Finding and reading digital newspapers
• Using QR codes


For over 20 years, Generations on Line has worked to reduce social isolation by providing easy, fast, free digital training for elders

We provide free, simple step-by-step instructions on every screen. This is such a help when your short-term memory is overloaded from decades of work. In large type, plain English, age-appropriate icons and language, this evidence-based interactive training overcomes the barriers of skill and intimidation. Reducing social isolation among elders is incredibly important for their well-being. Offering digital skills not only helps them stay connected with loved ones but also opens up a whole new world of opportunities for learning and engagement.

  • Generations on Line can guide someone who has never touched a computer learn to use the Internet, email, texting, photos, apps, videochats, and the all basic tools on any tablet or smartphone, so they can better participate in the cyber world of endless possibilities. 99% elders tested would recommend it to a friend; 87% mastered the training in less than four one-hour sessions.
  • Interactive safety training for anyone needing better control of their safety on the Internet golhelp.org/internetsafety
  • Our variety of trainings can be used through golhelp.org (nothing to download) including how to:
    • Learn Internet basics - from how to interact with the device (tapping, swiping, etc) to searching, texting, video calling, email, how to use apps, the camera and YouTube. If an elder can search and use YouTube - the information available to them is endless!
    • Use telehealth
    • Use a QR code
    • Find and sign up for a vaccine locally
    • Find and read a newspaper online
    • Find and apply for employment online 
  • During social distancing during COVID, we created Family Guides generationsonline.org/family to help you find the right device, connectivity, and training to help an older friend or relative, even when you can't be there in person.

We have helped more than 300,000 seniors across the nation and English speaking countries


And....It's free!

Please support the work of Generations on Line. We are a 501(c)3 public charity. Your gift of any amount will be sincerely appreciated. Please donate now  
Consider using Amazon Smile - to contribute to us or your other favorite charity as you shop.

Pictured – three generations of a GoL family on Zoom – which we simplified for seniors at the start of the Pandemic in 2020

Our Story

"Oh no Dear, I'm too old; I'm too dumb!"

Once upon a time the elders in a community knew more than the children. Then, when new tools in cyberspace arose and began their rapid rise in the late 90's, younger generations quickly caught on or were taught in school or business. But elders of "a certain age" were less inclined to tackle the new expensive computers, with their mice and memes. We saw the disconnect: the less mobile who might benefit most from the connections, convenience, and cost-free Internet were least likely to use it. They were confused, intimidated, uninterested, and left out. When we began in 1999, 86% of those aged 65 and older were not on "the information superhighway;" as it was called. "Oh no, dear, I'm too old; I'm too dumb" to learn, they told us.

Generations on Line (GoL) set out to simplify these tools in order to foster and promote Internet literacy, access, and skills to the elderly and overcome their fear of the new electronic media. We created, tested, and developed on-screen tutorials that guide a senior step-by step with age-friendly instructions in large type and plain English, respectfully and clearly.

In a national launch of Generations on Line on September 7, 2000, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for the first time announced Digital Inclusion for Seniors, urged children to send their grandparents an email through Generations on Line, and our nonprofit program took off around the country. Our secret sauce is in the software. Developed with experts in older adult learning, and tested, for months in multi-centered trials, the original program has trained more than 200,000 older adults, most of whom had never touched a computer — although some were the first to work with IBM punch card technology.


We provide tablet and smartphone training in two ways — to institutions and to individuals.

For institutions that serve seniors, we offer our no-cost tablet/smartphone programs along with supportive materials (also at no cost). The tablet/smartphone training, pioneered with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and funded by the Pennsylvania Department on Aging, is a comprehensive program called a Sip & Swipe Cafe®. We have served thousands of facilities, including assisted living and retirement centers, HUD subsidized housing, senior centers and public libraries. See Getting Started for more information. Feel free to contact Katie Burke to learn specifics (under Contact Us)

For individuals, caregivers, and families, we provide our tablet and smartphone trainings through www.golhelp.org During our history, we have worked with organizations to developed tutorial that simplify the Internet for seniors seeking specific tasks — from the Medicare Part D Plan Finder to the Social Security website. We pioneered a Workforce Development training program for institutions that helps retirees who need to learn how to find part-time employment online, as newspaper ads disappear and most applications require digital submission. 

Our story is the story of embracing and always including "The Paper Generation."

Pictured above: The inspiration behind Generations on Line, the mother of our founder, laughing with her granddaughter. She reflects the joy when the generations connect — and GoL's passion for ensuring that our oldest and wisest deserve to have their voices included.


Tobey Gordon Dichter, M.Ed.

GoL founder and CEO, Tobey Gordon Dichter, was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Aging by PBS Next Avenue in October, 2015. Ms. Dichter is the former Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs and Executive Committee Member at SmithKline Beecham Healthcare Services (now Glaxo SmithKline), a worldwide healthcare company. She was known for the first corporate television news program for employees worldwide, and later as the founder of the Drug Testing Index and repositioning Pap Screening from a finite test to a screen. Ms. Dichter left SmithKline in 1999 to pursue Generations on Line. She has served on the Boards of The Free Library of Philadelphia (chair), Maternity Care Coalition, The Philadelphia School, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The Wilma Theater, and The Philadelphia Film Society. Ms. Dichter is a frequent speaker and consultant on the digital divide. She is the full-time, unpaid chief executive of the organization, responsible for strategic direction, partnership development, finance, and Board and public relations.


Vasil J. Pappas, Jr., M.B.A.

Founder of Precision Media Works, Mr. Pappas is a Philadelphia-area producer of print and electronic communications. He is the former vice president and general manager of United Press International's business news and financial information division, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and the founding editor of the National Business Employment Weekly. He is an officer and board member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association. As COO, Mr. Pappas is responsible for strategic planning, security, and oversight of Generations on Line service.


Michael Pierce, M.Div.

Director of Training and Technology, Mr. Pierce has been in computer technology and training for 20 years, with a multigenerational focus. As the former Director for Information Technology for the Association for Education of Young Children, a nonprofit youth agency, and a Pastor, he brings the unique combination of training and counseling, troubleshooting and communication to seniors. He holds a BS in Religion and Philosophy with a Minor in Computer Science, and a Masters of Divinity. Mr. Pierce oversees GoL's software and backend programming, runs the GoL Help Desk, and creates  new software editions and upgrades. He is a recognized and lauded speaker at national aging network meetings.


Katie Burke, M.B.A.

GoL Administrator, and Sip & Swipe project manager, Ms. Burke joined us in 2005. She was formerly with Chilton Research Services, as market research project director. She holds a B.S. with concentration in marketing from Villanova University and an M.B.A. from Villanova University. An active community volunteer, she has chaired and coordinated events and raised significant funding for a range of church, school, health and childcare projects. Currently she helps mentor a high school robotics team. Ms. Burke manages project flow, database, client service, and market research.


Generations on Line
2021 Board of Directors and Advisors

A.E. Casey,MPAff

Advisor, Social COnnectedness, AARP FOUNDATION
Pronouns: they/them/their


Janett Aponte, B.A.

Mayor's Commission on Aging Outreach Specialist. The Commission leads the development of policy and strategies to support health, safety, and security for Philadelphians ages 55 and older.


John Beilenson, M.A.

President, Strategic Communications & Planning, consultants to not-for-profit organizations, particularly in the field of aging, Editorial director of Infoaging.org for American Federation for Aging Research, author/editor of 16 books related to aging.


*H.E. Broadbent, Ph.D.

Former Director of Information Technology, The Free Library of Philadelphia and former head of Task force on seniors and youth, American Library Association. Secretary.


Humphrey Chen, M.B.A.

Senior Vice President Corporate Development, Independence Banc; former Vice President Verizon; previous VP Microsoft


Rennie Cohen, B.S.

Consultant, Aging Positively llc. Former Executive Director of Center in the Park (29 years), former Vice-President of the National Council on Aging's (NCOA) National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC), founding President of the Pennsylvania Association of Senior Centers, and former President of the Philadelphia Association of Senior Center Administrators.


*Tobey Gordon Dichter, M.Ed.

Unpaid CEO and Founder of Generations on Line; former Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs and Executive Committee Member at SmithKline Beecham Healthcare Services (now GlaxoSmithKline).


*Brian Duke, MHA, MBE

System Director, Senior Services, Main Line Health; Former Secretary of Aging, Pennsylvania; previously, Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Bucks County Area Agency on Aging, New Jersey Foundation for Aging


Cecilia Garcia, Benton Foundation Senior Advisor, B.A. (emeritus)

Former Adviser to the Benton Foundation on issues related to broadband adoption challenges for low-income seniors. Executive Director 1997-2013. Former press secretary for Bob Filner (D-CA) a Member of the U.S House of Representatives. Communications director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a national Latino nonprofit organization, and producer at WTVS, Detroit's public television station. Media & Democracy Coalition Board of Directors.


John Gonzales

Project Director, Senior Community Service Employment Program, and Immediate Past Interim Director, Mayor's Commission on Aging, within the Health and Human Services Cabinet.


Kathy Gosliner, M.B.A., M.Ed. (emeritus)

Consultant and former Associate Director and Vice President of Development, Free Library of Philadelphia system of 55 branches.


*Kathryn Jedrziewski, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Institute on Aging, University of Pennsylvania. Deputy Director for Administration, Alzheimer's Disease Center


Jeremy Kramer, B.S. economics

Converged Products and Platforms, Comcast Corporation


Julie Nelson

ManagerPhiladelphia Senior Center on the Avenue of the Arts
Third largest senior center in the country. Member New Courtland.


*Michael Marcus, Ph.D. (abd), M.S.W.

Principal, Consultants for Community Resources, a national network of experts providing critical services to change makers.
Former Program Director, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Former Sr. Program Officer Chicago Community Trust.


*Bruce Melgary, M.S.

Senior Fellow, Drexel University Center for Cultural Partnerships
Former Executive Director, The Lenfest Foundation, The Brook J. Lenfest Foundation and The Allerton Foundation


Wanda Rodriguez-Mercado

Project Coordinator, National Association for Hispanic Elderly


Quynh Mai-Nguyen

Independent graphic designer, adjunct professor at Temple University's Tyler School of Art and creative lead at Philabundance
Co-founder and former Creative Director of Jay Social Web Design firm.


David Nevison

Past Associate Executive Director, Planning and Development, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging


Grahame Richards, J.D.

Program Director, The Lenfest Foundation


Karen Washington, B.S.

Assistant Director of Community Engagement - Philadelphia Corporation for Aging


*Sean Wechter, M.B.A.

Chief Information Officer, Qlik, Inc; former Senior Vice President of Digital Technology and Product Development at TEGNA Corporation; VP Comcast Corporation


Cathy Wilt, M.L.S.; M.Ed

Executive Director, PALCI Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc., representing major college, university and research libraries in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, and New York.


Ann Wrixon

Executive Director, Independent Adoption Center, Former President and CEO, SeniorNet


*Directors have governance responsibility

Pictured above: GoL staff, left to right, Michael Pierce, Katie Burke, VJ Pappas and Tobey Gordon Dichter.

Our Programs

Generations on Line creates new training programs to help older adults as technology evolves. Our simple tutorials provide step-by-step instructions in large type and plain English, with familiar icons on every screen — always there; no need to recall how to perform a task. The free and immediate connection to everything could be so beneficial to older adults who grew up in an analog world. We overcome the barriers of access, skill, and intimidation. We help them learn easily, quickly and at no cost:


The basics

Teaches use of the touchscreen, the on-screen keyboard, navigating the desktop, and how to use voice recognition. We also provide a Safety on the Internet module.

The web

Helps participants master the basics of using Google to search the Internet.

Email, texting, video calling

Walks new users through the process of setting up and accessing Gmail on a tablet or phone, text messaging, and video calling (Skype, Zoom, FaceTime).


Explains how to take and view photographs on the tablet or phone, how to obtain and use apps, and how to access YouTube videos to use for both entertainment and as a learning tool.


Training options

Tablet and smartphone training programs for individuals

This is computer training reduced to reading a recipe! Just load the free Generations on Line tutorial — either the web version or APP version onto an Apple, Amazon Fire, or Android tablet, or a smartphone (full sized tablet is best for older eyes) and have your older student read the simple instructions out loud and follow them.

Sip & Swipe Café — training programs for use by organizations

A Sip & Swipe Café, offered at locations that serve seniors (e.g. senior centers, retirement centers and public libraries), requires only a few web-enabled tablets, a volunteer coach, and perhaps some coffee or tea! GoL provides a volunteer coach's kit, tips strips, checklist of accomplishments for the user, and a guide to help your organization start up and successfully run a Sip & Swipe Café, with minimal staff intervention and no cost. Use this link to request materials.

A growing selection of online training tools

In addition to helping our elders master the functions of mobile devices, Generations on Line provides a growing list of tutorials to help with specific tasks such as: accessing vaccination sites; job hunting online; finding and reading digital newspapers; and more. These are all available free of charge at golhelp.org

Desktop computer training

GoL desktop training, used by more than 2000 sites across North America, was retired as email became easier, and tablet prices decreased. We continue to maintain the program as a legacy for existing users.



Email us, or call Katie Burke at 215-222-6400.

Pictured above: Sip & Swipe Cafe® was developed by Generations on Line as a follow up to its successful computer training program for adults. Over the past 20 years, Generations on Line has helped more than 130,000 people age 65 and older understand and quickly begin using the Internet.

Get Started

The first step in helping your favorite elders learn how to use the Internet is to get the free GoL App set up on a tablet or phone or send a web link; demonstrate how to find and open it. Insist that they read the directions out loud and perform each task with their own hands. It is best if the coach offers only verbal guidance and resists the temptation to touch the screen. You can also ask your local library or senior center if they already offer, or would like to set up a Sip & Swipe Café. We will give the program to any organization interested in helping older adults.


For individuals

If you would like to get older friends or relatives online, and agree to be their coach, bookmark the www.golhelp.org website on their device or the specific tutorial you will be using. 


For organizations and facilities

If your organization or facility serves seniors and would like to establish a Sip & Swipe Café tablet-training program, tap on the link at the bottom of this pag to learn more. 



Call Katie Burke at 215-222-6400

Ready to move forward? Tap here to request materials
Pictured above: When Josie Fletcher sent her first text message to her granddaughter, she didn’t think she would get a response within minutes, and was elated. Generations on Line simplifies the Internet and tablet technology for the paper generation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any question to see the answer.

How does the program work?

All the software is an interactive program. The Internet Tutorials (there are 3, select the one that matches the device) guides a novice elder step-by-step on to email and the Internet with instructions on every screen. This is designed for elders who have never used a computer or are timid about fully exploring the Internet and email. It teaches how to use the device and all its basics with hands (and fingers)-on approach. It guides a novice through obtaining and using email — first by seeing what it is all about, step by step; and then by actually using it while learning what to do. Because of the nature of email, this is best done with a volunteer (or staff) coach. The tablet editions also train users to search and to use all the other communications tools such as texting and video-chatting, as well as use of apps.  After learning the basics of the Internet, learners may move on to our other tutorials to expand their knowledge. 


How much does it cost?

Our tutorials are FREE. Generations on Line is supported by grants and contributions. If we have helped you to get an older person online or if you simply appreciate what we do, please contribute whatever you wish through our donation page.


What is your privacy policy?

Generations on Line software does not collect, store or dispense individually identifiable information about its users. We are committed to protecting and ensuring the privacy of our users. To read our complete privacy policy, please download the pdf.


What is "Sip & Swipe?"

The Sip & Swipe Café is a simple and fun way for institutions to organize tablet/smartphone training in a friendly setting. Just create a special area of the lunchroom or nutrition site where those patrons who sign up for training and their coach can gather for an hour once or twice a week.  This creates a buzz among the other patrons and promotes the program through organic growth. We thank the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging for creating the name and piloting this program so successfully in its senior centers.


Can a brand-new user teach herself the Internet with this?

Yes, depending on cognitive and motor skills. The GoL program is designed to be as self-teaching as possible. Included with the software are a range of tips, guides, and reminders to encourage independent learning. Where active seniors congregate, they can teach themselves; in assisted living and nursing homes, public libraries and senior housing, the staff organize scheduled times. It helps to have someone at the center encouraging seniors to try it; once they do, many get "hooked." We provide a train-the-coach comprehensive kit that guides other device users to serve as temporary coaches on site.


Is Generations on Line available for home use?

Yes, our tutorials are available for home use anywhere and everywhere. 


Can I see the software?

Yes! Visit www.golhelp.org Please reference our Get Started page for more information. We provide supportive materials to organizations who want to run programming using our tutorials.


What tablet is best for my 75- year-old father?

Any full-screen recent tablet is fine. If you can afford a cellular-equipped tablet, it reduces the hassle and cost of attaining WiFi. For more support view our Family Guides


How much staff time is involved?

For the administrator, we expect Generations on Line to become an enhancement, not a burden. We have created a turnkey system than includes a monthly online newsletter to address key questions and offer suggestions. The facility should designate someone to champion and coordinate the program (we provide startup materials and information). Initial startup takes the longest, then the program runs smoothly as word-of-mouth spreads as learner's gain confidence and knowlege. 


Are you an ISP (Internet Service Provider)?

No, we are not an ISP. You need internet connectivity to use our tutorials. 


How does our organization get coaches?

This is best handled locally by you and your staff — reach out to your residents or patrons to ask those with some computer or tablet experience willing to spend a few hours a week getting others online. GoL provides the comprehensive coaching guidance kit that gives a peer mentor coach all he or she needs to know!


How long do we get to keep the program?

You may keep the program as long as you wish. At this point, there is no expiration date for the software and no intention to create one. Our goal is to reduce the isolation and confusion the elderly have about the Internet revolution and enhance their ability to communicate.


How many seniors should we expect to use the system at our facility?

Use varies greatly among institutions. You define success — sometimes five people who are able read the Chinese newspaper every day is a success; some locations have dozens of regular users, others have 100; some libraries have individuals who come in just to see what the Internet is all about. Some facilities report patrons graduating to enrollment in their local classes once they see that the Internet is valuable and can be mastered without much trouble.

Pictured above: Graduation at the West Philadelphia Senior Citizen Center — each of these folks, and many more, received their certificate of accomplishment for mastering the iPad through Generations on Line simple training at a Sip & Swipe Café.


Meet Generations on Line CEO and Founder Tobey Dichter
Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, April, 2024

Generations on Line releases New Self Help Training on Safer Internet Day
January 31, 2024

New Tool Helps Techno Timid Seniors Find COVID Booster Sites - MyChesCo

November 16, 2023 story released nationwide

Generations on Line releases new QR Code Help for seniors
See more information here 

Aided by City grant program, local non-profit is helping adult learners find jobs online

New Job hunting tutorials featured in City paper

Generations on Line Founder named DIgital Equity Champion 2022

With more than 800 colleagues at the National Digital Literacy Alliance Net Inclusion Conference, the Benton Institute awarded Tobey Dichter this honor.

New Vaccination Booster Help for Techno Timid Seniors

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has funded Generations on Line to enable more citizens, especially seniors, to find and schedule Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters.

Generations on Line featured in Washington Post July 9 2021

Calming computer jitters: Help for the elderly who aren’t tech-savvy


Generations on Line featured on FOX news

Generations on Line Helps Bring Older Folks onto the Internet - interview with Katie Burke


Generations on Line featured on cable television February 8

Media Inside Out Temple University TV


Generations on Line (GoL) Helps Seniors Navigate Tech Options

Connecticut Tech Act Project Newsletter


National Group Helps Seniors Get Online

Spectrum NEWS 1 highlights Generations on Line during COVID isolation among generations


How to help older relatives use video calling during coronavirus - Philadelphia Inquirer

Generations on Line identifies three big obstacles: access, skill, and intimidation.


GoL launches Easy Census Help For Seniors

Coronavirus isolation makes new, critically needed 2020 Census help site even more timely


Bader Philanthropies Funds Expansion of Sip & Swipe Cafes

Northwoods River News


Local Seniors SIp & Swipe in iPad Class

Clarion PA Progress News


Sip & Swipe cafes bring seniors into cyberspace

Ashland Daily Press


Sip & Swipe Program Getting Local Senior Connected

ADRC of Barron, Rusk and Washburn Counties, WI


Older Consumers Straddle the Digital Divide

Generations on Line speaks out about digital illiteracy


Philadelphia’s Digital Literacy Alliance Awards First Community Grants

Generations on Line wins one of first grants from Philadelphia's Mayor


Sip and Swipe at the Library

"The Sip & Swipe program connects older adults to the Internet and tech tools"


Five Resources for Seniors to Get More Comfortable Using the Web

SeniorAdvisor.com blog cites GoL app: "Easy Tablet Help for Seniors,"
an easy way to get started, right at a senior's level, January 30, 2018


App helps seniors get online

MILESTONES MAGAZINE features Sip & Swipe® Cafes from Generations on Line, November, 2017


Ralston Wellness Center

2017 First Digital Literacy Alliance Award Launch


2016 Three-minute video of Generations on Line

by The Philo Project


Tobey Dichter presents Generations on Line

At Uplift Academy


Sip and Swipe Cafe

In action on YouTube


Dichter named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Aging

by NextAvenue/PBS October 2015


Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

Milestones Magazine
July 2015 — Apps for Everything


“Technology and Aging Independently”

Theme for PSRC Annual Fall Conference
Town Topics, November 05, 2014


Introductory Internet class offered to seniors

Daily Mountain Eagle, October 04, 2014


Senior moment: How the Internet is helping the elderly connect

Deseret News National Edition , June 10, 2014
(published with permission from Deseret Digital Media)


The Art of Aging: Senior Web Surfers

6ABC.com, February 06, 2014


Senior Service America, Inc. posts photos and comments

Of some of their 20,000 Generations on Line older learners


GoL PRESS RELEASE: Top Searches by Older American Newbies

The Post-Journal, December 16, 2013


Real People Empty Nesting

Empty Nest Magazine, Winter 2011-2012


Blog: Best Practices in Getting Low-Income Seniors Online

The Post-Journal, December 16, 2013


Generations on Line Helps Seniors

Find Medicare Online and Use Skype


Interview with GoL Founder, Tobey Dichter

WHYY Radio

Pictured above: By age 104 Kathryn Robinson (shown at age 99 above) could not speak or say her prayers, but she could use the internet and communicate via email, as she did with a New York Times reporter.

If you have any questions about our programs or practices, please contact:

Generations on Line Administration Center
3637 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Katie Burke


Tobey Dichter, CEO


Katie Burke, Administrator


VJ Pappas, COO


Michael H. Pierce, Director of Technology

At a GoL Sip & Swipe Cafe® elders discover new skills and pursue their own interests on the World Wide Web. This gentleman, on his own, found the famous Mohammad Ali–Sonny Liston fight on YouTube in his first lesson!

Give the gift of infinite wonders to our elders

Your gift of any amount will be sincerely appreciated, and serve to introduce the wonders and benefits of the world wide web to deserving seniors. Fill in any amount you wish, and click or touch the "Donate" button. You will be guided through next steps.

These are just a few examples of the good your gift could do:

$5.99 covers the real cost of one downloaded app
$150 gets 10 older adults trained online!
$350 buys PC training for a senior center or library
$500 implements Spanish and English training at a senior center of library
$1000 trains 100 retirees to find and apply for jobs online

Thank you for your generosity.

For additional information, please call Katie Burke at 215 222 6400.

Pictured above: Even after learning how to use their tablets fully, users appreciate being able to refer to the GoL app. In rural areas where distances are great, it is especially important to learn how to connect through FaceTime and email.
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Generations on Line® Application

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Generations on Line!


Contact person:

We would like to establish a
tablet-based training program



If you have questions,
or require additional information,
please call Katie Burke at 215 222 6400.