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Katherine Young

Katherine Young (鄭珣; Pinyin: Zhng Xn), born May 5, 1901, a centenarian, is the oldest known user of the Internet. She was born in a small Hakka village in the Fujian province of China, and attended college at Yenching University in Beijing (then Peking). She married Paul T.J. Young, and raised four daughters in China while staying one step ahead of the Japanese invasion of 1937.

After the war ended, the family lived in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and eventually immigrated to California in 1958, finally settling in Palo Alto where she resides today.

She served as president of the Lytton Garden Rose Club until 1998, when she decided she needed a break. Needing something else to do, she made the fateful decision to take a 12-week-long computer class offered at her retirement home. By the end of these sessions, she was logging on, and the centenarian decided to become an activist for the cause of encouraging seniors to use the Net. A Pew Internet & American Life Project study showed that only 18% of Americans 65 and older get online, as opposed to 58% of the American population as a whole.

Five years later, on her 102nd birthday, she became a celebrity for being the oldest person to surf the Net. She was feted with numerous birthday emails and an emailed sonogram of her great-grandson, who was eventually born in August 2003.

She studies Chinese genealogy on Google, and researches roses (having been Rose Club president for 16 years). She uses email to communicate with her ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She told reporters she checks for new messages as many as six times a day.

From her apartment, Young accesses the Internet via her MSN TV (formerly WebTV).

Though Young is the oldest known living user of the Internet, it should be noted that Audrey Stubbart (1895-2000), a proofreader and columnist for the Independence, Missouri Examiner until very shortly before her death at age 105, used the Internet at a greater age.