You’re neither too poor nor too old to join the Internet Revolution!

Neither age nor income should prevent someone from accessing the vast riches of the Internet, the Worldwide Web, the connections, learnings, news and entertainment found freely and easily for those who know how to use a computer!

But “they’re leaving us behind” say those who missed joining the revolution 20 years ago, who can’t afford a computer, or who think the complexity is way beyond their skills today! After helping more than 100,000 seniors find their way into learning this amazing and often baffling tool, Generations on Line has witnessed the frustration and embarrassment elders face in the wake of this technology.

During a focus group organized by Generations on Line, when a television ad directed low-income viewers to look at a website for more information, a senior exclaimed “I think I ain’t never gonna see it!” Why do older adults seem reluctant to learn about a new tool that would save them money, hassle, and broaden their horizons?

 

The answer is access, skill and intimidation. And the greatest of these is intimidation!

 

Here are some misgivings the seniors we work with expressed before they got trained:

  • “I’m afraid I’ll break it.” Older generations grew up with tools and devices that did not just “reboot” for a quick fix. As someone said, “You can’t unburn the toast!”

  • “It’s too complicated! I’ll never remember all that!”

  • ” I’ve lived all this time without it, what do I need it for?? The value doesn’t seem worth the hassle.”

  • “If I go on that thing, my grandkids will never bother to come and visit.”

  • “I’d rather read a book – too much time is wasted on these things!”

And yet, once on the Internet, they are “hooked”.  Tablet devices overcome many of the issues associated with desktop computers – including:

  • Glare (they’re easily moved from place to place)

  • Cost (today a full sized Android tablet can be had for $100)

  • Connectivity (with emerging public and retail locations offering free Wi-Fi, senior citizens become connected on the go)

  • Apps that work offline and are easily accessible from the home screen

  • Portability

  • Elimination of the mouse – although hand gestures can cause problems and frustrations for seniors, they still beat the cumbersome mouse technology

  • Audio and voice commands

According to the Pew Research Center, “Seniors are the group most likely to say they never go online. About four-in-ten adults ages 65 and older (41%) do not use the internet, compared with only 1% of 18- to 29-year-olds. Household income and education are also indicators of a person’s likelihood to be offline. Around a third of adults with less than a high school education do not use the internet, but that share falls as the level of educational attainment increases. Adults from households earning less than $30,000 a year are roughly eight times more likely than the most affluent adults to not use the internet.”

Furthermore, a  survey from the Center found some key reasons that some people do not use the internet. “A third of non-internet users (34%) did not go online because they had no interest in doing so or did not think the internet was relevant to their lives. Another 32% of non-internet users said the internet was too difficult to use, including 8% of this group who said they were “too old to learn.” Cost was also a barrier for some adults who were offline – 19% cited the expense of internet service or owning a computer.”

At Generations on  Line , we have seen evidence of the Pew statistics at the grassroots level. We have watched Qin Gao, at age 73, learn English by reading China News online every day at her HUD Section 8 202 residence; seen the joy on the faces of folks as old as 99 when they realized they actually could master this; and met with the directors of low income senior centers and housing pleased they finally had a free program that helped their population and provided the dignity of not being left behind anymore.

Generations on Line® looks forward to expanding into additional senior residences through ConnectHome USA, and by joining forces we can bring this free and simplified approach to hundreds of thousands of elders across the nation