(BPT) – It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the increased use of the internet and technology for many; however, this trend is best highlighted by seniors. A recent survey on global internet trends conducted by Avast in partnership with Forsa and YouGov found that 22% of people over the age of 65 spend more than three hours per day online. Forty-six percent also noted that the internet has become more important since the start of the pandemic. While this shift was great for staying in touch with loved ones and keeping busy in a time of isolation, drawbacks emerged.
With the uptick in use, online threats like malware (software designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorized access to a computer system), phishing scams (manipulation through deception into disclosing sensitive personal information), tech support fraud (unsolicited offers to help fix alleged computer problems) and even romance scams culminating in untraceable payments to bad actors, emerged.
Elders reported the least confidence in their online abilities, with only about 16% asserting their ability to do things online is “very good.” This is particularly relevant when looking at fears that keep seniors from fully participating online; in fact, 69% of people over the age of 65 decided not to do something due to security and privacy concerns, and another 17% felt that they don’t have enough online protection knowledge. Further, fears of being a digital burden put older Americans at greater risk online due to a direct correlation between internet literacy, the perceived burden on others, and frustration of online tasks for those over 55.