Canadian seniors refusing to be left behind by the internet - InfoNews

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Canadian seniors refusing to be left behind by the internet

Marilyn Russell drops by the Eldernet Computer Mentoring sessions about once a month to get help with her computer questions, this time from volunteer, Gary.
July 11, 2019 - 6:00 AM

KELOWNA - Not only are seniors embracing new computer technology, they’re generally easier to teach.

“It’s amazing,” Debbie Cardamone told “They’re actually pretty good at what they do. It’s been a pleasant surprise.”

Cardamone has a computer consulting business and volunteers at Eldernet Computer Mentoring through the Seniors Outreach Centre in Kelowna on Wednesday afternoons.

She’s noticed a steadily increasing number of seniors coming in for the free consulting sessions.

“Young people think they know everything,” Cardamone said. “They don’t.”

Seniors, on the other hand, are more open to learning and, therefore, can be easier to teach.

Between 2007 and 2016, the number of Canadian seniors using the internet more than doubled, a growth rate far ahead of other age groups, according to newly released data from Statistics Canada.

Seniors’ usage rates jumped to 68 per cent in 2016 from only 32 per cent in 2007.

Still, seniors – listed as being 65 or older – lagged behind other age groups.

Overall, 97 per cent of Canadians use the internet.

And, the younger the senior is, the more likely they are to use the internet, according to the study. Eighty-one per cent of those aged between 65 and 69 use the internet but that drops to 49 per cent for those over 80.

So, why the increase in usage?

“It’s their children and grandchildren pushing them to do it,” Cardamone said. “They’re not living in the same city or same province, so they want to keep in touch.”

Add on the fact that many government agencies force people to connect through their web sites, and there’s increasing pressure for everyone to ensure they have true access to the internet.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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