The Seniors and the Internet

The openness of the Internet for old people is a key theme. It makes sense to encourage all French Internet use in any occasion and to further open the market to an audience of retirees who have the time and financial resources. We must consume fiber daily and take profit of advertising adds and online sales. We must maintain the level of employment in France! Whether or not one shares this vision, it is clear that if the state is considering making “mandatory” use of administrative formalities online, the measure also concerns the elderly (defined as those 67 to 97 years), that is to say, precisely the one that is most reluctant to accept the new developments, to move the “mouse” with the flexibility of clumsy or trembling fingers and remembering the digit code needed to be protect malevolent strangers.

The task seems really a bit difficult. In 2016, in France, almost 6 in 10 seniors aged 60 to 69 are connected to the internet and they are only 2 of 10 beyond 70 years. But once the third age should achieve a significant share of the potential market, everything must be tried to overcome the reluctance!

How to form the third age the sweets of Internet and how to initiate these people to the protections necessary to deal with the digital dangers? As soon as this kind of project is announced in a village, many volunteer initiatives (or may be) occur everywhere. But we must set a minimum program, find a room and demonstration equipment, Wi-Fi connections, etc. In short, the project falls like a soufflé! Then the resolutions reappear to establish a happy aging thanks to digital. In principle, a well-designed technology should also participate in maintaining the autonomy of seniors, to provide a range of home entertainment while maintaining social and medical links. But what choice of the most essential applications should be select? All probably because you have to keep all the instruments of communication and information, to buy remotely, to keep records, to participate in community life, to mobilize. It would allow the use of email, photos transfer, communication with a webcam, consultation of bank account, access to information and health portals to online commerce, games, movie downloads and music.

The laudatory narratives of successful initiatives, focusing on reducing the generational divide access to digital, forget to report their short life, since these activities are usually based on personal actions (tea-time Albertine Meunier, for example). The various attempts to create a specific terminal (including the “Magui” computer, created by the company Simplistay or the Wii platform) face to the laws of the market. The tablets are still too small for tired eyes and fingers slightly alerts.

So the problem remains as it is. Seniors will remain isolated in their island, away from digital. And as postal services have long left their mooring in telecommunications ship, it will not be the postman of the village that will make computer repair at home. And rural post offices will not open a Cyber-cafe during or outside office hours. This is Uber, the savior, who, on the black market, without any security professional discretion, will promote the computer science to seniors.

There you have an example where the digital destabilizes the old world and encourages the Barbarians to circumvent French tax authorities! But this is not the way that all seniors will make their tax returns via the Internet. And do not expect that the optical fiber penetrates immediately in every French home!

Good reads on the Smart-Webzine!

Daniel BATTU

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