IMDA's digitalisation office has reached out to more than 130,000 seniors since 2020

More than 14,000 seniors also participated in IMDA's SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme between July and December last year. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - More than 130,000 seniors have become more digital savvy through an office set up by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in 2020 to equip the hardest-to-reach segments of society with skills such as staying safe online.

More than 14,000 seniors also participated in the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore’s (CSA) SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme between July and December last year. The aim is to reach 50,000 seniors by next year, said Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo on Thursday (March 3).

She was responding to a parliamentary question from Mr Yip Hon Weng (Yio Chu Kang) on how many seniors the SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme had reached out to last year, whether there are plans to expand the outreach and how the programme ensures that seniors are continuously educated on the latest types of scams, given their evolving nature.

The CSA's SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme, which is supported by the police and IMDA, was launched last year to raise awareness of cyber threats and encourage adoption of good cyber hygiene among seniors.

The programme reaches out to as many seniors as possible by working through various channels, such as pop-up events, webinars, as well as the SG Digital community hubs, said Mrs Teo, who is also Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity.

The hubs are located in community centres and public libraries, and seniors can walk in for one-to-one sessions with a digital ambassador from the SG Digital Office.

The curriculum for the SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme is regularly reviewed and updated to ensure its relevance, she added. For example, with online scams becoming a growing threat, it has recently included more tips for seniors to guard against such scams.

"Through MCI (Ministry of Communications and Information) surveys such as the digital readiness survey about to be released, we know that more can be done to improve the awareness and adoption of good cyber hygiene practices, such as the use of two-factor authentication and antivirus software. This is especially so for our seniors.

"We will continue to engage seniors to empower them to stay safe and secure online."

In response to Mr Yip's further question on whether MCI would rope in caregivers of seniors for the programme and Silver Generation Ambassadors for the outreach, Mrs Teo said the ministry would rope in Silver Generation Ambassadors and consider including caregivers as well.

"In terms of how we reach out to the seniors, one method that has proven to be very effective is peer learning and support, so that is a method that we will continue to deploy.

"Families and friends and caregivers of the seniors are another potential group that we can include, and I thank him for his suggestion. As to the involvement of the silver generation ambassadors, yes, the answer is that we will equally reach out through them."

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan said those aged 60 and above formed about 2 per cent of the total number of victims of the 4,722 job scam cases reported between 2019 and last year.

To reach out to seniors, the police work with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and the Silver Generation Office, as well as MCI and IMDA through the SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme and the Seniors Go Digital Programme, he added.

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