Many of us still fondly remember talking on the old-fashioned rotary dial phone with the curly cord. At one time, just about every home had one. But when it comes to the new forms of communications and technology, there is a digital divide between old and young that needs swift action. And AARP is seeking to close the gap with online training in digital technology especially suited for people who are age 50-plus.
With Grandparents Day on Sunday, Sept. 7, it’s a good time to increase communication. Through AARP’s TEK Workshops around the country, thousands are getting online. AARP TEK stands for Technology, Education and Knowledge. Through this three-pronged approach, people 50-plus are being empowered to communicate like never before.
Let’s look at the facts: When it comes to younger and older Americans, this divide is clear — regardless of race. Thirty-five million people 50-plus are online but not using tablets today because they find technology confusing, intimidating or just too costly.
An even closer look reveals a greater divide along racial lines. According to a Pew Research Study released early this year, “Specifically, older African Americans, as well as those who have not attended college, are significantly less likely to go online or to have broadband service at home compared to whites with a similar demographic profile. African Americans age 65 and older have especially low adoption rates compared with whites. Just 45 percent of black seniors are internet users, and 30 percent have broadband at home (among white seniors, 63 percent go online and 51 percent are broadband adopters).”
On the other hand, Pew reports that Internet usage among younger African Americans is the total opposite: “Young, college-educated, and higher-income African Americans are just as likely as their white counterparts to use the Internet and to have broadband service at home. Some 86 percent of African Americans ages 18-29 are home broadband adopters, as are 88 percent of black college graduates and 91 percent of African Americans with an annual household income of $75,000 or more per year. These figures are all well above the national average for broadband adoption, and are identical to whites of similar ages, incomes, and education levels.”
At AARP, we understand the 50-plus hesitancy with technology and how unwelcoming or even intimidating it may be for some. We also understand that many people 50-plus think it isn’t even relevant to their lives or it’s a hassle to use. And yet, they really do want to go digital.
That takes us back to AARP’s TEK Community Workshops. AARP TEK aims to empower 50-plus Americans to connect through technology with friends, family, employment opportunities, health information, entertainment and much more. AARP TEK Community Workshops deliver hands-on educational sessions on tablets and smartphones, with a curriculum customized for 50-plus Americans. And the Online Education Center provides learning content about technology that can help people live their best life.
This year, AARP TEK workshops have reached thousands of people in at least seven markets: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Jacksonville, Fla., New York, San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego. Let us help you remove every obstacle, every complication and every excuse for not jumping into the digital age. Let’s do this together.
To locate an AARP TEK workshop near you, go here or call 888-OUR-AARP toll-free.
Photo: AARP of Mentor Up Program
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