Successive lockdowns and restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have highlighted the importance of digital literacy skills, particularly the capacity to access online opportunities. During the mass ‘pivoting’ of 2020-2021, many seniors were left behind because they lacked the skills and/or confidence to participate online. Through programs like Social Seniors, Victoria’s public libraries can play a critical role by providing face-to-face training for seniors to build their capacity to engage online and stay socially connected, whatever their circumstances.
The Social Seniors program was designed to build on the existing technology skills of people aged 60 and over, with the goal of helping older people to integrate online experiences into their real-world lives and thrive. The Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear that digital literacy and online navigation skills are not merely ‘nice to have’ but must-have skills for senior Victorians.
Telstra has updated its Social Seniors curriculum to a series of 8 workshops, with the first three covering the essentials:
- Zoom (critical skills for the pandemic era)
- Building your device and app skills
- Introduction to social media
Through a series of practical, hands-on weekly workshops, the participants learn how digital tools can help them to explore new interests, meet new people and stay connected while addressing concerns about online safety and privacy.
Social Seniors is designed to address the gap in older people who don’t have the skills or confidence to participate online. Our learn-by-doing approach and inclusion of mentors who are peers to the participants help our Social Seniors to become digital natives.
Further information for libraries may be found here.
Social Seniors helps participants:
- Connect and share information on common interests;
- Embed the use of digital technology into their everyday lives;
- Participate regularly in community groups and activities using social media platforms;
- Find new opportunities for active pursuits and social activities in their local area;
- Learn about online privacy and security;
- Build confidence to use online channels such as banking, paying bills and accessing local services; and
- Have the opportunity to connect with their local U3A to further their skills and interests.
Resources for program delivery:
The roll-out of the Social Seniors program in Victoria is supported by Telstra, the Department of Health and Human Services and Public Libraries Victoria in partnership with the University of the Third Age.