Older People on the Internet: Keys to Safe Surfing


Did you know that life expectancy in Spain reached 83.3 years in 2021? This means that we are living longer and longer. And thanks to the development of information and communications technology, we lead more and more connected lives. This presents society with the challenge of providing older people with safe internet surfing. 

The health crisis accelerated connectivity, which ceased to be a trend to become a reality: teleworking is now consolidated, and so is online commerce and entertainment, telemedicine, digital banking and the way we relate to our loved ones, remotely.

In 2021, as a result of the rise of remote activities, Spain became the most targeted country. According to data provided in its latest computer threat report, drafted by the cybersecurity company ESET, Spain suffered more than 51 billion desktop attacks, far more than the attacks unleashed on France (21 billion), Germany (19 billion) and Poland (18 billion). Bad data driven by the growth of teleworking across the globe.  

Older people on the internet: messages and news 

20% of Spain’s population, some nine and a half million people, are elderly. In the current scenario, the number of people over 65 who have gone digital has also grown. In its latest report on the digital divide, the Unión Democrática de Pensionistas y Jubilados de España (Democratic Union of Pensioners and Retired People of Spain), UDP, points out that the regular use of the Internet by this group of people has increased in recent years, from 32.7% in 2017 to 60% in 2021.   

The MayoresUDP Scale points to the exchange of “messages with family and friends” via WhatsApp or SMS as the main use of the internet by the elderly, with 85.1%, followed by 80.8% for people who use the internet to keep themselves well-informed. Other common activities are those related to banking and healthcare, or online shopping. However, it states that among “older, less educated and less affluent people” the various digital activities decrease significantly.   

Older people in cyber danger 

One of the most common complaints among the older population is the lack of technological skills and the need for…

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