Millions of older Aussies missing out over ‘fear’ of the internet

Be Connected is a national initiative aimed at older Australians. Source: Getty (model posed).

Can you believe that a whopping 2.7 million Australians over the age of 50 have no idea how to access the internet, connect to WiFi or even send an email?

A shocking new study has revealed that a huge percentage of Australia’s older generation are missing out on all that the internet has to offer, with the main reasons being fear of the unknown and feeling intimidated by technology.

However, the results also revealed that more than half of over-50s across Australia actually want to get to grips with digital technology, but the main factor holding them back is feeling apprehensive and intimidated when it comes to asking for help, with many unsure about where to look for support in the first place.

The research was carried out by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner and coincides with the launch of their new Be Connected program, which has been designed to make older Aussies feel more comfortable online by teaching them the very basics, such as accessing the internet and setting up an email account.

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.

“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.”

The research also revealed that the “trusting” nature of people over 50 left them more vulnerable to scams, with 40 per cent reporting they had been targeted with a computer virus, or fallen victim to an online scam, credit card or personal information theft, which has put them off using the internet.

Read more: ACCC says over-60s repeatedly falling for fake energy bill scams.

Inman Grant added: “We know anecdotally that older Australians can be a more trusting generation. 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.”

Could you live without the internet? Do you consider yourself digitally savvy? 

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