Science and Technology

Over 2M seniors get tech savvy through Be Connected program


The internet is no longer just for the young! Over 2 million seniors in Australia have learned how to use the internet and digital technology through the Be Connected program.

This program makes it easy for older adults to get online and gain valuable tech skills. Be Connected offers simple, step-by-step lessons on things like online banking, shopping and keeping in touch with family online. The lessons are available on their website as well as through local community organisations across the country.

At these community centres, seniors can get one-on-one help and attend group classes. They can even borrow devices if they don’t have their own computer or tablet. Over 3,800 libraries, cultural centres, aged care facilities and more are partners in delivering these hands-on lessons.

The program started in 2017, and its success shows there’s a huge demand from seniors who want to get savvy with technology. As more things move online, from government services to entertainment, it’s important that older adults don’t get left behind.

“Technology has a wonderful ability to connect, enable and empower individuals, and we must ensure older Australians are not only included in our increasingly online world, but that they feel confident benefiting from it,” says Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

“It’s difficult for anyone to stay on top of the continually evolving digital landscape as new technologies emerge. For older Australians, who may not feel as comfortable as people who have been online their whole lives, Be Connected’s vast resources help develop confidence and skills to explore and embrace online life safely.”

The lessons cover internet basics but also teach important skills like spotting scams and protecting your privacy online. Having this knowledge can help prevent seniors from falling victim to cybercrime and other online risks.

Be Connected isn’t just for total beginners either. Those already comfortable online can learn more advanced skills through the program’s webinars, articles and podcasts.

And with government funding secured through 2028, millions more seniors will have the opportunity to boost their digital skills in the years ahead. “This program is not just about technology, but helping over 50s to participate in society today,” says Jess Wilson from partner organisation Good Things Foundation Australia.

“We are thrilled that we can continue this work over the next four years, to support people in the community to be confident, safe and connected online.”

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