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Safer Internet Day: Educating our residents on the risks they may face online

In honour of Safer Internet Day, we wanted to explore some very disturbing findings Age UK recently shared surrounding online scams. The new research surveyed 10,000 people aged over 50 and revealed that an alarming 41% say they have been scammed in the last five years. The average amount for those who lost money was £2,022, and of those who lost money, a concerning 22% never recovered it!

Often members of society choose to target those who are vulnerable and less likely to pick up on signs they’re being scammed. Therefore, at ExtraCare we feel it is our duty to educate not only our residents, but our staff as well, to the risks they may face online. Recently we have been very fortunate to have the help of the amazing volunteers at AbilityNet!

Safer Internet Day

Who is AbilityNet?

AbilityNet are a charity with more than 25 years’ experience in supporting older and disabled people to safely use technology. With the help of their 450+ UK wide volunteers, who each offer support within their own local community, they strive to achieve their mission of creating a “digital world accessible to all.”

ExtraCare’s Research and Technology Lead Kerry Stack worked closely with AbilityNet for many months to raise awareness of what support and services they could offer residents across our retirement villages, before ultimately rolling out the Ofcom Project.

We all know the internet is such a huge part of everyday life now, with so many day-to-day tasks being done online. Whether that be transferring money between bank accounts, or catching up with old friends on social media, the digital world has taken over! However, unfortunately not everybody is educated on how to navigate a website and above all, online safety, which can have detrimental consequences. ExtraCare and the team at AbilityNet came together with the same goal and focus, and that was for our residents to become more comfortable with technology, leading to the Ofcom Project!

The Ofcom Project

AbilityNet have worked closely with five of our retirement villages in Birmingham over the last 18 months, supporting around 120 residents across 45 in person sessions. They covered a range of new skills such as internet shopping, online banking and of course how to spot scams! These sessions were client led, and each one developed different skills and awareness.

In addition to their time, AbilityNet have donated 40 Chromebooks and data gifted by Microsoft and Virgin with even more going out this month!

Although the project is ending, they now have several volunteers in the local area who aim to continue to support the residents at the five villages and maintain the longevity of the project, with the hope of securing more funding in 2024 to offer this in more ExtraCare locations.

Click here for more information on AbilityNet.

Thank you so much for the laptop, I was really struggling to read things off my phone, this has made it so much easier! – Resident Feedback