Digital skills in the modern world

Digital skills in the modern world

Date: 04/11/22

Author: Anthony Harrison

Gaining digital skills - for all ages   

Living in the digital world, basic internet access becomes a necessity. One can order groceries, pay their bills, chat and video call their family, do some online shopping, and many more opportunities are just a few clicks away. However, when it comes to older adults or retirees, things can get a little more complicated. It is natural to struggle to take in new information as a person ages, no longer being able to swiftly remember new tasks and information, let alone being introduced to a whole new digital world where anything is possible. However, learning new things, such as accessing the internet and then surfing it in search of educational videos, for instance, can help slow the progression of cognitive decline as well as a host of other benefits. 


Benefits of internet access: 

  1. Swift access to GP 
  2. Meeting new or old friends, catching up with children and/or grandchildren 
  3. Paying bills and doing your banking from the comfort of your home 
  4. Online shopping  
  5. Finding new or rediscovering old hobbies 

Why digital skills are important for older adults 

Regardless of someone's age, it is so useful to be able to find an answer within seconds on the internet. You can get medical advice or call a doctor to come to your home/schedule a doctor’s visit, pay utility bills and access online banking – all from the comfort of your own home. On the fun side of internet accessibility, you can order groceries, shop online and bid on vintage pieces in a span of a few clicks! To accompany that great experience, you can play your favourite music on YouTube and Spotify while calling and/or messaging your loved ones on social media apps like WhatsApp, Skype and more. 

Older adults and retirees are at higher risk of developing depression due to isolation and lack of activities left to do. To combat that, with the help of the internet, they can stay up to date with their loved ones and learn new activities online such as chess, sudoku or playing cards. Video calling family or knowing that family members are just one message away, can play a great role in feeling supported and cared for.

Taking the time to educate

Taking your time to sit with the older generation; explaining the advantages of the internet, and teaching them how to safely browse the web can be beneficial for both parties – it makes you feel content and helps them feel cared for. Perhaps it may be your own grandparent or someone you don’t know, but either way, it feels good to be able to help someone else.  

Going down the path to learning new skills on your own can be challenging, but this is where we can help. We believe that everyone should feel free on the internet and use it to their advantage, and we are taking digital skills to a new level!  

Learning digital skills in demand  

Westminster City Council has recently approved the expansion of its partnership with Community Fibre, to provide older Londoners with the digital skills they need to get online. Via our Digital Ambassadors Programme, which launched in February 2021, we have helped to freely educate Westminster residents with a variety of digital skills, such as navigating a smartphone or using email, to help boost confidence and close the digital divides across the borough. You can learn more about the programme on our Community Investment page.  

We also have some courses available on our Digital Skills page where you can learn how to use your devices (laptop, tablet, phone), understand the online basics, online safety, as well as learn how to find a job online, manage your health and finance online, and interact with the world through social media. These are crucial skills for the modern world and are sure to make life more comfortable for you. 

Expanding our Digital Ambassadors Programme 

Followed by the success and positive feedback in Westminster, we are rolling out our Digital Ambassadors programme further across the borough, connecting to more leisure centres, not just libraries. This will provide better access for people with more sessions to take part in. On top of that, we are partnering with GP practices based in Westminster borough to provide support in learning and using the NHS app. 

You can read more about our expansion of the Digital Ambassador Programme throughout Westminster in our press release here.