The UK government is not doing enough to encourage older people to use the internet, a report by communications industry watchdog Ofcom has claimed.
Ofcom’s research found that, while 56% of people aged 65+ voluntarily excluded themselves from accessing the internet compared to the national average of 22%, two-thirds of older people who would normally reject the net would go online if they had the right support and learning environment. Internet courses designed and run by older people were specifically cited as encouraging factors.
Ofcom’s consumer panel chairman Colette Bowe commented, with more and more local and central government services online, as well as the best deals for commercial services, people who are not connected will find themselves increasingly excluded in today’s world.
The UK government has entered an EU agreement to halve the gap in net use for people at risk of exclusion by 2010. But charity Help the Aged has rebuked its digital strategy, telling the BBC the government must revisit this strategy if a significant proportion of older people are not to become more excluded from society.