Millions of older Australians are missing out online

Around 2.7 million Aussies aged 50 years and over have little online engagement.

Older Aussies missing out online

Latest research from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner reveals around 2.7 million Australians aged 50 years and over have little or no engagement with the online world.

The research also shows that a major fear factor exists among older Australians who have low digital literacy – technology often proves to be intimidating, reinforced by a lack of confidence to ask for help or knowledge of where to get help.

“We know anecdotally that older Australians can be a more trusting generation – our research bears this out, with 40 per cent of those aged 50 and over experiencing a computer virus or being the victim of a scam, credit card or personal information theft,” says eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant.

“In an increasingly digital world, we need to ensure all Australians have the skills and confidence to engage online safely and enjoy the many positive benefits of the internet,” she explained.

The eSafety Office, in partnership with the Department of Social Services, is delivering the Be Connected program to provide resources and support training to increase the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians.

Further findings from the research show older Australians face significant barriers to increasing their internet use, including lack of knowledge about how to use devices and how to perform tasks online.

“Our research tells us that half of Australians aged 50 years and over actually want to use the internet more and they’d be more likely to do so if given the chance to improve their digital literacy and skills,” says Ms Inman-Grant.

While the research shows about four million older Australians are keen to improve their digital literacy, they also want help addressing online safety and security concerns.   

“The Be Connected website addresses the online safety and security needs of older Australians by providing resources and training on highly relevant topics, such as how to avoid online scams,” says Ms Inman-Grant.

The research also reveals that while 50 per cent were happy to use online resources, 72 per cent of older Australians prefer face-to-face, one-on-one coaching. As part of the Be Connected program, a national network of community groups is delivering free face-to-face coaching, supported by Good Things Foundation Australia.

“We’re excited to have over 1200 community organisations across the country in the Be Connected Network, from libraries to retirement villages, community centres to Men’s Sheds, all supporting older Australians to get online,” says Good Things Foundation National Director Jess Wilson.

Are you comfortable with your safety and security when you go online? What are your main concerns? Have you tried to convince friends to become more engaged online?

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    COMMENTS

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    Janus
    5th Jun 2018
    11:17am
    Thanks for this, people,
    So many government and other organisations assume (very incorrectly) that "everyone" is on Facebook, and that results in many olderfolk missing out on information. Some local Government anouncements are made there. Even the limits of having everything on a web page is a challenge for some people.

    I refuse to shop at places eg restaurants that only have Facebook as a contact. And no, I am very tech savvy, not a Luddite. I just hate to see so many decent folk being left behind because nobody gives a stuff about them. Hurry up and die...
    Janus
    5th Jun 2018
    11:17am
    Thanks for this, people,
    So many government and other organisations assume (very incorrectly) that "everyone" is on Facebook, and that results in many olderfolk missing out on information. Some local Government anouncements are made there. Even the limits of having everything on a web page is a challenge for some people.

    I refuse to shop at places eg restaurants that only have Facebook as a contact. And no, I am very tech savvy, not a Luddite. I just hate to see so many decent folk being left behind because nobody gives a stuff about them. Hurry up and die...
    Charlie
    5th Jun 2018
    11:58am
    I was fortunate enough to be employed in a job where I needed typing and computer skills, but I didn't learn them first, it was all part of public service upgrading.

    Suddenly office staff were not allowed to do my typing anymore and took more than a casual interest in how I did my job with the hope of getting an in-between managers job but that's a little off the subject, the end result was that after retiring early with ill health, I had basic computer skills.

    Since retirement the laptop computer and internet connection has become the most important thing I own.

    Email and face book puts me in touch with friends from long ago. and a range of things to read and comment on.

    Google search and U-Tube gives me information on anything I ever wanted to know about, as well as hours of documentary material, I also get to comment on if I wish.

    But what is the point of me saying this because the people who need the computer skills probably wouldn't be visiting this site.
    sunnyOz
    5th Jun 2018
    5:19pm
    I spent some years helping my elderly single aunt (mid 80's) get to know and understand her computer. But now, she has had to give it up for 2 reasons. Firstly, she just does not have the mental capability to understand it all, and secondly, due to cost. It was just becoming too expensive on her meagre pension. I know plenty of seniors who are not on computer, and they really are being ostracised.
    Charlie
    5th Jun 2018
    10:12pm
    Mine costs me $70 a month with my phone and I get 200GB which is more than I need. I can watch U-tube half the day for that. I am on age pension and I rent.

    I get some discounts built into that, but one day the price goes up and when I ask why, they say I was on a discount and I just reached the end of it. I didn't know what discount I was on or why?

    Because it's so important to me and I have had training in it, I am prepared to give a big chunk of my pension to it.
    Kathleen
    5th Jun 2018
    5:47pm
    If my 86 year old neighbour can enjoy Facebook etc and is actually good at it then there is no excuse for people not to be online. I have a friend who is younger than I am and is anti Facebook etc but has never tried it. That is like saying they don’t like a certain food or place but have never tried it or been there.
    It is amazing now that you can type in a key word and be offered a myriad of sites to explore. When I want to find out something g I do just that. It is wonderful.
    I research medications and decide whether they are safe or not.
    As someone who is limited physically the world is at my door online which is such a great consolation prize and I value it.
    Theo1943
    5th Jun 2018
    11:55pm
    I'm 75, I installed my first computer in 1968, my first PC in 1985 and worked in IT as a techo until my retirement. I have no problems using computers.


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