Wanted: support services
The pandemic has shown how crucial it is for people to have social networks that can provide them with help and advice on a wide range of issues. Especially for seniors, being able to ask family and friends about how to use new technologies is a good way to acquire knowledge and strengthen their own problem-solving skills.
"Independent searches for solutions" is the category that exhibited the greatest increase (+8 percent) compared to 2019. About half of all respondents now use the Internet to look for answers and solve problems on their own. This applies above all to younger people (70 percent) and 30- to 39-year-olds (78 percent). The more advanced their age, the less likely respondents are to look for solutions on their own.
Even though people now solve questions about using the Internet on their own more than they did in 2019, about half would like support services to help them improve their digital skills. More than half would like assistance in the form of instructional videos or online courses (58 percent). Almost half would like options for learning offline, such as at adult education centers or libraries (48 percent). Moreover, 46 percent would find telephone support from a trained computer expert useful, while 42 percent would like to have assistance provided by a computer expert in their own home.
"The pandemic has also shown that it will become increasingly difficult to participate in society without digital skills," explains our expert, Kirsten Witte. "That is why it’s important to provide target- and age-group-specific services that allow users to learn individually. Digital access, support structures and learning options need to be created in precisely those environments where family and friends are not the first point of contact, such as retirement and nursing homes. Joint initiatives need to be developed that offer more possibilities and venues for learning, especially for older people, in everyday settings such as adult education and community centers, libraries and social clubs. To reach young people, digital skills need to be anchored more firmly in the school curriculum."