For a moment, imagine being a senior who has limited to no prior experience using technology. Maybe you’ve used a desktop computer at a community center, or maybe you know how to make calls on a cellphone. But more complicated platforms — like Zoom, Google Applications, or YouTube — feel completely foreign. You are confused by all the terminology. You are fearful that your information won’t be safe. Ultimately, you feel too intimidated by the internet to start learning now. And besides, how might it be useful to you?
What you might not realize is that with the tools of the internet you could talk with a relative across the country and see them face-to-face. You could dive into historical archives and explore virtual museums. You could streamline the process of applying for social services and benefits. You could watch videos, search for music, send photos, practice language skills, or take online classes. You could even see your doctor and discuss a health problem without ever having to leave the comfort of home.
While the internet is certainly a practical tool — connecting us to essential services and information — it is also a catalyst for curiosity and communication. This is especially true for older adults with a higher likelihood of feeling lonely or isolated. And yet, about a quarter of Americans aged 65 and older are not using the internet in 2021 (Pew). That means that millions of people are missing out on the benefits of life online, as well as the essential services and information it provides.
On a mission to transform lives through digital literacy, CTN’s multilingual programs set out to connect the unconnected. Through collaborative partnerships, volunteer programs, and funding opportunities, we can help everyone — regardless of age or income level — achieve the access and skills needed to take advantage of the power of the internet. Want to join us? Consider investing in connection this giving season. Visit our donate page to check out the many ways you can give to CTN.