Older Americans are avoiding using the Internet—or are using it less than they would otherwise—because of security and privacy concerns. And efforts by government and nonprofit groups to educate seniors about safe Internet practices have been met with limited success.
Now, they're taking a different approach—one that leverages older adults' social networks to spread the word.
Just half of Americans over 65 are doing everything they want to do online, according to a national survey released Tuesday by Hart Research. Asked why they don't use the Internet (or, if they're already online, why they don't use it more), two in five older adults surveyed pointed to security, safety, and privacy concerns.
The same research found that one of the most effective ways to teach older Internet users about safer online practices is through their social networks. According to the study, one in three Americans over 65 say they trust information about Internet privacy and security they hear from family and friends, far more than said they trusted the government or nonprofit organizations for advice on the same topic.
That's why the government has recently tried to tap into older adults' social networks to educate them about online security, enlisting the seniors themselves to teach others how to use the Internet safely.