Some of us still remember talking on the old fashioned rotary dial phone with the curly cord. At one time, just about every home had one. But, when it comes to the new forms of communications and technology, there is a digital divide between old and young that leaves some seniors feeling disconnected—even though they seek nothing more. AARP is seeking to close the gap with online training on digital technology especially suited for people who are 50+.
With Grandparents Day coming up on Sunday, Sept. 7, it’s the perfect time to increase communication. Through AARP’s TEK Workshops around the country, thousands are getting online. AARP TEK stands for Technology, Education, and Knowledge. Through this three-pronged approach, people 50+ are being empowered to communicate like never before.
Let’s look at the facts: When it comes to younger and older Americans, this divide is clear – regardless of race. In fact, 36 million people in general are not online at all. This may be due to tech-shyness or tech-wariness or even cost-consciousness. Another 35 million people 50+ who are online but not using tablets today because they find technology confusing, intimidating, or just too costly.
An even closer look reveals a greater divide along racial lines. According to a Pew Research Study released early this year, “Specifically, older African Americans, as well as those who have not attended college, are significantly less likely to go online or to have broadband service at home compared to whites with a similar demographic profile. African Americans age 65 and older have especially low adoption rates compared with whites. Just 45% of black seniors are internet users, and 30% have broadband at home (among white seniors, 63% go online and 51% are broadband adopters).”
On the other hand, Pew reports that internet usage among younger African-Americans is the total opposite: “Young, college-educated, and higher-income African Americans are just as likely as their white counterparts to use the Internet and to have broadband service at home. Some 86% of African Americans ages 18-29 are home broadband adopters, as are 88% of black college graduates and 91% of African Americans with an annual household income of $75,000 or more per year. These figures are all well above the national average for broadband adoption, and are identical to whites of similar ages, incomes, and education levels.”
AARP understands the 50+ reticence with technology and how unwelcoming or even intimidating it may be for some. We also understand that many people 50+ think it isn’t even relevant to their lives, or it’s a hassle to use, or it’s too expensive. And yet, they really do want to go digital.
That takes us back to AARP’s TEK Community Workshops. AARP TEK aims to empower 50+ Americans to connect through technology with friends, family, employment opportunities, health information, entertainment and much more. AARP TEK Community Workshops deliver hands-on educational sessions on tablets and smartphones, with a customized curriculum that targets 50+ Americans. And the Online Education Center provides learning content about technology that can help anyone live their best life.
This year, AARP TEK workshops have reached thousands of people in at least seven markets including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Jacksonville, New York, San Antonio and San Diego. Let them help you remove every obstacle, every complication, and every excuse for not jumping into the digital age. To locate an AARP TEK workshop near you, go to www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/tek/ or call 1-888-OUR-AARP.