New Vodafone Scheme to Help Over-65s Develop Digital Skills

Older people who have reservations about using the internet could be losing nearly £1,000 a year by paying extra for goods and services because they do not feel computer-savvy, according to a new study.

It estimated that, as a result, many over 65s could be spending on average £97 extra on clothes, £158 on entertainment services and £184 on travel, as well as missing out on £156 in state entitlements – adding up to a total possible loss of just over £900 a year.

In response to the data, which found that 45% of over 65s are not completely comfortable going online, The Vodafone UK Foundation has launched a new scheme to help the over-65s develop their digital skills.

The research also found that 38% of those older people unsure about going online feel left out or forgotten when digital is pushed as the preferred option by a service.

34% of respondents said they felt more stressed when a service such as booking a medical appointment requires an online action.

Online scams and is also a key concern for older Brits, with over half (54%) concerned about their digital security, and 49% worry that they would not know what to do if something went wrong.

In addition, 38% say they find it difficult to keep up with the pace at which the digital world changes (38%).

The Vodafone UK Foundation has partnered with the charity Independent Age to launch a digital skills programme aimed at the over-65s, supported by TV presenter Gloria Hunniford.

The free online resource – called Hi Digital – offers step-by-step advice on key areas of being on the internet, including how to use a search engine, online shopping, accessing news and staying in touch with family and friends.

Ms Hunniford said: “At long last, I’m relatively comfortable online – but I absolutely understand older people’s concerns.

“There are so many benefits to taking the plunge – from making financial savings, which are so vital at the moment, to keeping in touch with loved ones and feeling less isolated.

“I’m delighted that Vodafone UK Foundation has created this learning programme, especially to help build up older people’s digital confidence.”