The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society will be expanding its offerings to seniors this year and hopes to return its Cyber Seniors program when one-to-one training is once again allowed. (Photo contributed)

The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society will be expanding its offerings to seniors this year and hopes to return its Cyber Seniors program when one-to-one training is once again allowed. (Photo contributed)

Shuswap organization aims to help seniors become more cyber savvy

BC Hydro report finds seniors reluctant to use

A Shuswap non-profit organization’s upcoming digital training opportunities are intended to help seniors become more savvy with the internet.

Earlier this month, BC Hydro released the findings of a report that addresses how seniors are using the internet more during the COVID-19 pandemic, but may lack the training and/or confidence to take advantage of the various tools available online. According to the Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap (LASS), the report confirms its findings in the region.

The Crown corporation found seniors have been spending more time online, with many quickly adopting new technologies and applications, such as Zoom, in order to stay in contact with family and friends. The report also found more seniors had turned to social media platforms.

“Overall, social media is likely a big contributor to the one to five hours a day that most seniors admit to spending online, and much like video calling, 60 per cent said they use social media primarily to keep in touch with loved ones,” said BC Hydro in a media release.

Despite becoming more proficient at using some technology, reads the release, seniors are still missing out on different tools and options available to them online.

“For example, they are 25 per cent less likely to make an online purchase for essential items from the grocery store or pharmacy than other adults in British Columbia,” said BC Hydro, adding a lack of confidence using new online tools and a need for support may be preventing seniors from adopting new technologies.

Read more: Two-Thirds of Seniors Have Been Scammed Online

Read more: Support helps Okanagan society reduce COVID impacts on mental health

This is an area that LASS has been working steadily to help address, with programming aimed at supporting seniors’ cyber literacy.

“We have heard these trends locally in the Shuswap as well,” said LASS literacy outreach co-ordinator Thomas Briginshaw of the BC Hydro report. Due to the pandemic, LASS hasn’t been able to offer its popular Cyber Seniors program, through which the organization offers one-to-0ne tutoring sessions throughout the region. Briginshaw said the program will return when in-person meetings become an option again.

“We are also expanding seniors’ technology training this year to include seminars on how to use a tablet, social media use, accessing government services and protecting yourself from online scams,” said Briginshaw.

For more information about LASS’ offerings, visit www.shuswapliteracy.ca.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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