- Around 23% of people over 65 have difficulty turning on or logging in to a computing device
- One in four also keeps passwords and login details on a piece of paper
Worrying research has revealed that almost half of over-65s in the UK experience problems using the internet.
Nearly six million Brits are unable to complete a handful of basic but crucial tasks to stay safe online, according to new research from AgeUK.
One in five people over 65 have difficulty using web browsers such as Google and Safari, while another 23 percent cannot turn on their devices at all.
Adjusting the font size, volume and even screen brightness also poses problems for more than a quarter of those surveyed and contributes to increasing exclusion in the digital age.
“The figures we are releasing today should be a wake-up call for policymakers as they show the alarming extent to which the trend towards ‘digitalisation by default’ is excluding our older population,” said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.
Around 23 percent of people over 65 have difficulty turning on or logging in to a computer device (stock)
“It is well known that millions of older people are not online and that is bad enough, but it is now clear that even the majority of online users in this age group have relatively limited digital skills.”
As part of their research, AgeUK compiled data from the Office for National Statistics and examined patterns from 2020.
Astonishingly, it was revealed that 21 percent of over 65s are unable to use their mouse, trackpads and keyboards while struggling with touchscreen functions.
Around 35 percent do not manage to set up WiFi connections – be it at home, at work or when visiting family and friends.
One in four also wrote their passwords and login details on a piece of paper, which was often next to their device.
Although this seems like an easy option, Jake Moore, a global cybersecurity consultant, warns that it is not the safest route.
He told MailOnline: “Passwords are often the bane of people’s online lives, but the key to keeping accounts secure is ensuring all passwords are unique and long.”
“For greater convenience and optimal protection, the best way is to use a fully encrypted online password manager that allows only the owner and their chosen device to access this secure password vault.”
“It may sound less safe, but it is actually the safest method. Then you can simply copy and paste the password into the website without having to remember or write it down.”
One in four also recorded passwords and login details on a piece of paper (archive).
TIPS FOR CREATING A STRONG PASSWORD
- Choose a password that is 18 characters long and contains a mix of numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and symbols
- If you have trouble remembering a long password, use a password manager
- Do not use the same password for every website you use
- Avoid memorable/personal facts like your dog’s name or your birthday
- Avoid a number-based password – these are the least secure
“In addition, it is important that users use some form of two-factor authentication to further protect their accounts should someone ever get hold of their password.” This feature is usually easy to follow and is located in the security settings of the most apps.
In light of these revelations, AgeUK has launched a new campaign #OfflineandOverlooked to persuade the government to offer more offline services.
This includes letters, phone calls and face-to-face communication, as the charity argues that people should not be “forced into the digital route”.
“At Age UK we believe it is time for everyone to have the right to access public services offline,” Ms Abrahams continued.
“This isn’t nonsense, quite the opposite – as a charity we run some brilliant digital inclusion programs across the country – but rather a recognition that online methods simply don’t work now and never will work for millions of older people, and they should “They have the opportunity to receive public services in a more traditional way – by telephone, letter or in person, as needed.”