Avoiding the Cliff

Avoiding the Cliff

By Susan Diegelman
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 12:05pm

CAMPAIGN: AT&T: Possibilities


On Tuesday, February 10, AT&T recognized Safer Internet Day by joining forces with Google and Project GOAL to host a one-day conference examining the issue of internet safety for older adults.

Safer Internet Day. Ok, I know, it seems there’s a “day” for everything. So what makes internet safety for older adults worth talking about? Well, it’s estimated that the number of adults aged 65+ will more than double to about 71 million by 2017.

As Americans continue to age, technology will continue to evolve. In the past, technology mostly provided entertainment, but now it is integral to how we live and connect with our community. “Relevancy” was previously framed as the primary reason older adults were not getting online. While seniors overcome this barrier and increase their online activity, they are also becoming more aware of the security dangers that may lurk online.

The Internet continues to evolve from a means of communication to a delivery method for essential services – like banking and healthcare, which is why it is critical that all Americans are comfortable, safe and secure navigating online. This is why AT&T teamed with Google and Project GOAL to promote a day of all-star speakers on this critical topic, with a focus on older Americans.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn talked about the ways we can help seniors protect themselves against fraud, keep their devices safe and make smart policy decisions that address Internet safety. FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeney talked about the role of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection as the service delivery aspect of the Internet becomes more commonplace in our economy.

It’s not unusual to have difficulty keeping pace with innovation, especially after leaving the workforce. A friend of mind refers to this as “falling off the cliff.” It would be unfair to assume that the current generation of older adults is the only generation that will struggle with this. Educating older Americans on issues of online security and digital literacy are important for today’s seniors as well as future generations to come.

How far are you from “the cliff?”