The Internet has little appeal for older Australians, according to a report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The report, titled, Australia in the Digital Economy: Online participation, found 73 per cent of Australians have a home Internet connection.
But only 48 per cent of people aged 65 and over make up that statistic. Forty-four per cent of this age group have also never dabbled with the world wide web.
ACMA market analysis manager, Paul Nicholas, claimed that unlike non-Internet users aged between 18 and 49 years, it is the perceived lack of benefits, not cost factors, which fuelled aged Australians’ apathy towards the Internet.
“Other factors also include education, living arrangements, occupation and income also contribute to the statistic,” he said.
With Government and commercial sectors increasingly shifting operations online, Nicholas said stimulating participation of non-Internet users should be prioritised.
“An omplication of not being involved in the digital economy is social exclusion,” he said. “It is up to individuals to be part of it but with many services requiring participation online, there is a level of importance for these people to feel comfortable using the online facilities that are made available to them.”
Nicholas also said ACMA has approached state and territory governments to identify current initiatives aimed at offering online information skills developments and to look at specific programs targeted at older Australians.
“We hope this information ensures future planning initiatives at all levels of government so that programs that help people are particularly targeted at areas of most need.”
According to ACMA, there are $2.8 million people aged 65 and over in Australia, which makes up 13.3 per cent of the population.