I’m really not sure what Ofcom’s research into older people and the internet tells us.
Non-users were largely consistent in the reasons they gave for not using the Internet: many were afraid of the unknown, of their ability, of breaking the PC, or of appearing foolish. The majority of non-users are the ‘disengaged’, and they showed an unexpected interest in going online. The minority, the ‘rejecters’, from busy grandmothers to contented hobbyists, saw no benefit in using the internet.
We saw similar sentiments in studies in the late 90s, across the entire population. But the proportions of non-users dropped as technology became cheaper and simpler, and as incentives grew.
I’m just not sure I buy the apparent conclusion that ‘courses designed for and run by older people, together with mentoring schemes would encourage them to get online.’ Again, we’ve been here before. The government’s UK Online Centres (you remember?) were supposed to teach the general population to love the internet. What sold it to us all in the end? Can I suggest budget air fares, pirated music and free access to pornography?