FEEL EMPOWERED: The online resources provide tools to learn the basics of using digital devices and engaging with the internet.
FEEL EMPOWERED: The online resources provide tools to learn the basics of using digital devices and engaging with the internet. CPaulussen

Get online connected in 2018

BE Connected is the new government website for older Australians which focuses on increasing their confidences, skills and online safety.

It seems every corner an older Australian turns there is another piece of technology to master and more requirements for them to go online to access their day-to-day information and support. For those people who aren't connected or aren't trained in how to use the internet to their advantage, they are likely to feel more and more isolated from the broader community.

The online resources provide tools to learn the basics of using digital devices and engaging with the internet, including:

  • Being safer while online.
  • Talking to or seeing family and friends who live far away.
  • Finding new friends who share interests and hobbies.
  • Connecting with old friends.
  • Keeping up to date with what's happening in communities and around the world.
  • Shopping and selling online, safely and securely.

It will be delivered through partners who will offer in-person help and support to older Australians who are disengaged with digital technology.

How to find a place for help and advice

  • Call the Good Things Foundation helpline on 1300 795897.
  • Type in your postcode/suburb into the online map.

The national director of the Good Things Foundation Australia, Jess Wilson, said: "We are thrilled to already have 677 Network partners who have joined the Be Connected Network in only three months."

Neighbourhood centres, men's sheds and retirement villages have all signed up. The target is 2000 network partners by June.

How do I know if they an authorised Be Connected provider?

  • Call the Good Things Foundation.
  • Use the online map.
  • Check if they carry the Be Connected brand on flyers, posters and appointment cards.

What will change in the future on Be Connected?

  • The website will be enhanced with additional learning topics and interactive content, enabling users to continue further along their learning journey to increase their skills and confidence in using online and digital technology.
  • Resources to encourage and facilitate inter-generational learning will be rolled out. Research shows that older Australians are most comfortable learning digital skills with a family member or peer, face-to-face, so an important part of the program involves equipping and empowering family, friends and community members to guide older Australians through a Be Connected learning plan.
  • The Department of Social Services has engaged Swinburne University of Technology to undertake an evaluation of the Be Connected program.

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, said: "We want senior citizens to feel empowered and inspired to embrace the digital age and all the benefits it has to offer.

"One of the prominent themes emerging from our research is that many older Australians have genuine fears about going online. This fear is potentially depriving them of enriching opportunities to reduce isolation, provide greater access to services and make meaningful connections online.

"The program will assist in increasing the both the digital inclusion and digital abilities of older Australians by addressing the concerns and fears that may act as barriers to their online engagement and demonstrating the relevance and value of being online and connecting more safely." 

For more information on Be Connected, go to www.beconnected.esafety.gov.au.

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