GOW17 in Germany: Chances and challenges of the Internet event

One of the big events in Germany during the Get Online Week 2017 was the dialogue for and with senior citizens "Chances and challenges of the Internet: useful applications" in Berlin. On 29 March, 2017, the team of Stiftung Digitale Chancen (SDC) in cooperation with Telefónica Germany organized the event at the multipurpose location "Base_camp". More than 40 interested people came to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet and to learn more about apps that can support their daily routine. 

The dialogue for senior citizens was organized in the scope of the project "Tablet PCs for Senior Citizens" ("Digital Mobil im Alter"). The project is implemented by SDC in cooperation with the funder Telefónica Germany. The objective of the project is to trigger the interest of senior citizens in using the Internet by giving out tablet pcs to senior centres, computer clubs and retirements homes.

The impact of and the response to the tablet pcs were measured during the project. Two main conclusions can be drawn from the evaluation, which were presented to the participants of the dialogue:

1) it is not enough to only give out tablet pcs to the senior citizens with a short introduction. This target group needs a contact person who can be continuously addressed with questions. These contact persons act as multipliers and need a qualification to support the senior citizens regarding tablet pcs and the Internet.

2) it is important that the senior citizens continuously train with tablet pcs, not only to improve their skills and competences but also to loose their fear towards e.g. using online services because of online fraud. To include experts from banks or from consumer protection institutions can be a valuable help in training sessions to established trust.

The audience of the dialogue discussed these results and gave insights of their own experiences. Many of the senior participants of the event were already digital and even multipliers for their peers.

The event location "Base_camp" in Berlin-Mitte is a place that combines several functions being a store for smartphones and tablets, a restaurant, a working space and a place for events. In this atmosphere the participants listened to representatives of organisations for senior citizens, the scientific councilor of SDC Herbert Kubicek in presentations and a panel discussion.

During the two-hour event SDC also presented those apps that were used by the senior citizens that participated in the project. Interestingly, there is a discrepancy between those functions (e.g. communication, photo editing etc.) that the senior citizens in studies say they would like to use and those functions they really use. These and other results of the evaluation will be published in a national report. 

by Nenja Wolbers, SDC

Photos by Telefónica and Photograph Henrik Andree.

Country: Europe
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