Research by Council of the Ageing (WA) has found that very few senior women are going online due to a lack of skills, anxiety about technology, cybercrime fears and problems with service providers.
A research-based qualitative study supported by a grant from ACCAN, Where do I Start? Female Seniors and the Internet documents the experiences of 50 women in Western Australian, some who had used the internet before and some who had not.
Factors that accounted for the low use of computers and the internet among the group included a lack of knowledge in a number of areas, including how to choose a computer to buy, which internet service provider and modem to use and confusion about virus protection software.The research concludes with recommendations for inclusive forms of information dissemination and internet access.
While this study found that senior female non-users experienced only minor inconveniences or disadvantages at present, it also found that most non-users felt they would be disadvantaged in years to come. Thus, as Australia heads into an NBN-enabled future, it is important to ensure that everyone is able to participate and reap the benefits, and to identify the needs of digitally disadvantaged groups now.