ACMA calls for improved senior citizen cyber safety education

Face-to-face programs preferred over online sessions, according to ACMA research

Improving cyber safety education of senior citizens through more targeted programs would greatly improve their confidence and get more elderly Australians online, according to an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) submission to a Senate committee investigating cyber safety for senior Australians.

Speaking at the Senate hearing in Sydney, ACMA digital economy division general manager, Andrea Wright, said that most cyber safety programs are aimed at young people and the Authority is trying to change this.

During Safer Internet Day in 2012, for example, ACMA targeted grandparents with face-to-face presentations across Australia.

“We provided a list of questions to seniors that they might ask their grandchildren so they could get online and learn how to use social networking sites,” Wright said.

“We also think it’s important that there is a variety of education measures such as how to set up Facebook privacy controls and how to set up Google safe search.”

Wright added that while senior citizens appreciate online resources, they prefer sessions in person to help them get started. “If the senior citizen can’t turn on the computer then they don’t know how to get to the resources,” she said.

According to Wright, ACMA’s research in the cyber education area has shown that senior citizens regard the government as a trusted brand. “It is then up to the government to honour that trust and apply the type of principles to test the [cyber education] services with users to make sure it is meeting their needs,” she said.

“Services that serve people today need to be reviewed so they remain current in the future.”

In addition to cyber safety workshops, ACMA called for additional resources such as access to a senior citizen cyber safety hotline and print media information.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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