Seniors

Older Minnesotans being left behind by increasingly online world

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of digital equity with the acceleration of digital transformation occurring in workplaces, education, and commerce. However, virtual as the new normal is exposing an age-based digital divide within our state of Minnesota. Older adults have lower access to the internet, fewer digital skills, and more limited use of technology. The digital divide contributes to increased social isolation, the severity of chronic diseases, and an overall diminished quality of life. The problem is worse in rural areas than metro areas.

Digital divide creates challenges in connecting older adults to post-pandemic resources

As the world inches towards full emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, California says older adults were hit the hardest in the past couple of years. The digital divide was partly the reason why. Director of the California Department of Aging (DOA), Susan DeMarois, says extreme isolation, resource availability, and elder abuse for those 60 years old and older have all increased since 2020. That's on top of this population experiencing the highest mortality rate for the virus.

New NTIA Data Show Enduring Barriers to Closing the Digital Divide, Achieving Digital Equity

Data from the 2021 NTIA Internet Use Survey show that historically less-connected communities used the Internet and connected devices in greater numbers than they did two years ago before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital Inclusion for Seniors Changes Amid Pandemic

Older adults have long needed help with technology. Because of this dynamic, for many years digital inclusion programs have worked extensively with older adults. Those efforts, however, became impossible to safely conduct at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, advocates in the space had to get creative. Tobey Dichter is the CEO of Generations on Line, with more than 20 years of experience in digital inclusion work with seniors. Dichter’s group offers online tutorials to help those who are connected learn more about how to navigate and stay safe on the Internet.

2022 Tech Trends Fact Sheet: Technology and African Americans Over Age 50

African Americans 50-plus are increasingly more comfortable using technology and continue to spend above pre-pandemic levels on tech devices they use daily. Nonetheless, their ownership and use of technology have remained constant from 2020, and so has their desire to connect with others and learn new skills.

The looming 3G shutdown comes with life-threatening risks

On the morning of Februaru 23, millions who depend on a 3G wireless connected device for medical emergencies, fires, burglaries or carbon monoxide detection will find their lives needlessly at risk. These devices will not work when AT&T shuts down its 3G network on February 22, threatening tens of millions of people relying on them in their homes and businesses. Known as the 3G sunset, those affected include hundreds of thousands of people who have personal emergency response systems (PERS).

Adrianne B Furniss Announces 2022 Charles Benton Digital Equity Awards

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Executive Director Adrianne B Furniss announced the 2022 Charles Benton Digital Equity Award winners at The National Digital Inclusion Alliance's Net Inclusion 2022 event. "We are here to honor three people who have demonstrated commitment, innovation, leadership, and collaboration: the very skills we need to navigate us through very trying, interlocking crises—and to steer us to a more equitable, more just society," said Furniss.

AARP Submits Comments to NTIA Regarding Broadband Programs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

AARP submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) urging the agency to encourage states to integrate digital literacy programs and data-driven planning into their funding strategies for programs created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. "AARP looks forward to partnering with NTIA during the upcoming years to support NTIA’s effective disbursement and oversight of the significant increase in public monies to advance broadband deployment and digital equity," stated AARP in its comments.

How Americans Have Used — and Struggled With — the Internet During the Pandemic

Pew Research Center released a sweeping report looking at how Americans have used the internet in the pandemic, how reliant they were on digital tools, and some of the struggles they have had as they tried to conduct many of the work-related, educational, social and community activities of their lives online. The headlines from the survey included:

Will The Government's New Broadband Subsidies Close The Digital Divide For Older Americans?

On May 12, the Federal Communications Commission will launch the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which will have internet service providers give low-income Americans who qualify up to $50 off per month for broadband service. Advocates for older adults say the government's new broadband subsidies are a good step towards closing the digital divide — but that much more will need to be done to get them on the internet.