The theme for NetHui 2019 is safety, inclusion and wellbeing on the open Internet. Nethui is not a conference but a huge community meeting where people share ideas and listen and brainstorm. Check out the NetHui 2019 website to get the flavour of this famous annual gathering.
Strange to say, despite 20 years of involvement in things internet. I have never been to a NetHui yet. Although I have been eager, it just hasn’t happened… until this year.
This year it’s to be held at Te Papa in Wellington on 3–4 October. With Francesca Holibar, Director of TechSeniors in Auckland, I have been asked to facilitate a one-hour discussion on Digital inclusion for seniors and retirees. I’m keen to do this and have already begun thinking and researching.
New Zealand’s Digital Inclusion Blueprint expands a previous concept of a digital divide:
For the purposes of the Blueprint, being digitally included means having convenient access to, and the ability to confidently use, the internet through devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets. This focus reflects the way that most people currently interact with the digital world, and that more and more services and day-to-day activities are going online.
The Blueprint lists 4 elements which are all needed for a person to be digitally included: motivation, access, skills, and trust. The Internet today provides so many services, entertainment and communication benefits that it’s a real disadvantage to be left out of the loop.
Old people and the internet: what’s happening?
It’s a fact that “seniors” are among the vulnerable groups who are less engaged online.
We’re not short of local and national initiatives, such as SeniorNet classes in at least 50 locations, the SteppingUp classes at public libraries, and the Digital Seniors pilot programme in the Wairarapa, dedicated to improving seniors’ digital inclusion.
Also, local government bodies and libraries have their own policies for healthy ageing or positive ageing. These may include using the Internet, or helping older people to use it with confidence.
Three types of problems that need tackling
- What problems do older people have with technology? How can we help?
- What technology needs fixing for everyone, but especially for older people? (What looks like personal incompetence is very often poor design. Old people just let you know about it!)
- What other problems do some older people have that digital inclusion could alleviate? (I’m thinking of loneliness, but there must be others.) And how?
Share your own brilliant ideas
Many of you reading this blog are old yourself, some even older than I am at 79. We have a double advantage: we do use the internet (a lot), we have access and skills and motivation. We know the pitfalls and the benefits.
We can see the problems and articulate them. Who but we should be figuring out solutions to the problems of digital inclusion for seniors and retirees?
Please tell us about exciting developments in your own country that we can learn from. And if you’re in New Zealand, tell us what’s happening in your area!
I can’t wait to hear from you. Thank you in advance.