Too much online fear and not enough Be Connected seniors
LACK of trust, fear of scams, identity theft concerns and low digital literacy are stopping about 2.7 million Australians aged 50 and over from going online.
Just knowing where to go to help and how to gain knowledge about using online tools and services are proving barriers as well the eSafety Commission researchers have found.
But as federal and state government departments, everyday services providers, almost every kind of shopping and travel experiences and more push for older Australians to go online, the time is fast approaching for them to seek out the support and skills to go online, or go online more often.
"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," eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.
"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."
While the research shows about 4 million older Australians are keen to improve their digital literacy, they also want help addressing online safety and security concerns.
The first step in turning around these numbers is the eSafety Office's specially designed Senior's service Be Connected program which provides resources and support training to increase the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians.
"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," Mrs Inman Grant said.
"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."
The eSafety Commission research also reveals that while 50 per cent of older Australians were happy to use online resources, 72 per cent of them 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 the Good Things Foundation Australia.
"We're excited to have over 1,200 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. Join our growing network to help older Australians thrive in a digital world," Good Things Foundation National Director Jess Wilson said.
For information on BeConnected, go to www.beconnected.esafety.gov.au.