Getting older Australians connected for a COVID Christmas

In a time when physical distancing is still an important way to keep each other safe, many people will be buying loved ones a new device for Christmas, or gifting them a hand-me-down device to help keep them connected during the festive season. However, older Australians don’t just need the device, they need to have the confidence and the right skills to get the most out of the gift they open on Christmas Day. eSafety, as part of the Be Connected program, has easy-to-use, free resources that can make all the difference.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said that only 30% of older Australians with low digital literacy are able to make video calls.

“Giving an older relative a device will start them off on a really empowering journey but it’s also critical to help them gain the skills to use the web safely,” she said. “These can make being 'face-to-face' at Christmas possible across state borders or even internationally.”

“One third of older Australians have never used social media but the holiday period is the perfect time for them to use one of the platforms to enjoy the festive cheer with family and friends”.

For those wanting to encourage an older relative to take their first steps online, the Get Started app has great ideas to help inspire you to get them connected and make the most of all the web has to offer.

From the moment an older relative unwraps a device, the Be Connected website has everything to take them safely from blank screen to video calling. They can start with our engaging online course, Get started with your device, and learn to set up their device, change settings and access programs and files. The Be Connected website is a one-stop shop with more than 150 online learning modules and 350 learning activities to help older Australians make the most of the web – and it’s all free.

eSafety has also recently launched a new Be Connected course on How to use Zoom, which has been the go-to video calling app during the pandemic. Older Australians can learn everything they need to be “face-to-face” with loved ones. From how to create a Zoom account to setting up a Zoom call and inviting friends and family to join, this course makes it easy.

Be Connected is an Australian government initiative committed to improving the online confidence, skills and safety of seniors. The Be Connected website, managed by eSafety, provides free information, learning modules and webinars designed to empower them to safely use the internet and digital technology. Be Connected also supports Australians to mentor older family members or friends so they can thrive online.

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