Senior Women Need More Support To Get Online
23 June 2011 at 11:50 am
A report by Council of the Ageing (WA) and the Australian Communications Action Network (ACCAN) has found that very few senior women are going online due to a lack of skills, anxiety about technology, cybercrime fears and problems with service providers.
Where do I Begin? Female Seniors and the Internet, a research-based and qualitative study, looked at the experiences of 50 women in Western Australian, some of whom had used the internet before and some who had not.
Factors that accounted for the low use of computers and the internet among the group included a lack of knowledge in a number of areas, including how to choose a computer to buy, which internet service provider and modem to use and confusion about virus protection software.
COTA Chief Executive Ken Marston says the women who took part in the study had a number of real concerns that had been created through stories in the media about scams and stolen credit card details.
Some were fearful that technology and internet use would have a detrimental effect on society and that people would lose the ability to communicate.
Marston says that interestingly, those who had used the internet before said it had a positive impact on their lives, and non users said it had had a negative impact.
ACCAN Director of Research and Development Ryan Sengara says the report highlighted the need for more low-cost training aimed at improving digital media literacy skills for this group.
Sengara says Government services, support agencies and businesses are increasingly turning their focus to online delivery of services as we move towards a digital economy in 2020.
He says the report shows the digital divide needs to be addressed now to avoid entire groups of people being left behind.
ACCAN has welcomed the government’s announcement in the 2011-12 budget that a further $10.4 million will go towards continuing the Broadband for Seniors Program over four years from July and says more is needed.
The report, co-funded by COTA and the ACCAN Grants Scheme, has been released at the Active Ageing Conference in WA and is available at www.accan.org.au/research