More than 190,000 seniors trained in basic digital skills under govt programme

Seniors are trained in skills such as using a smartphone to make electronic payments and video calls. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - More than 190,000 seniors have been trained in basic digital skills, such as using a smartphone to access government services, under the Seniors Go Digital programme by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

This figure, given by Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo in Parliament on Tuesday, is up from the 150,000 seniors helped by the programme as at August.

Mrs Teo was responding to questions from Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Bukit Panjang) and Mr Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC), who asked for an update on the programme and whether there were plans to help seniors avoid online scams.

Digital ambassadors from the Seniors Go Digital programme, launched in 2020, train seniors in skills such as using a smartphone to make electronic payments and video calls.

A survey conducted in 2021 found that about nine in 10 seniors engaged by the ambassadors said they will continue to apply digital skills they learnt in their daily lives, said Mrs Teo.

Other programmes have been implemented to bolster seniors' ability to handle cyber threats, she said.

These include the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore's SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme, which aims to raise awareness and drive adoption of cyber hygiene practices.

The initiative has engaged more than 45,000 seniors since its launch in 2021, she added.

In a follow-up question, Mr Liang asked if the SG Digital Office, set up in June 2020 to better support people who need help with basic digital tools and skills, could focus on assisting seniors with daily functions that require digital use.

Many of them end up feeling helpless when told to schedule their polyclinic appointments online as they were unfamiliar with doing so, he said.

In response, Mrs Teo said the Seniors Go Digital programme also teaches seniors to use health-related online services and apps such as HealthHub and Healthy 365.

The government will leave non-digital alternatives available, such as physical Community Development Council or CDC vouchers, for seniors who find adopting digital skills difficult, she added.

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