Older People Excluded from Internet

Help! Our aging populations are creeping up all over the globe… 

A friend’s father (87 years old) was sold a 5G telephone “upgrade” with a new €600 smart phone. That doubled his mobile phone bill when he hardly knows how to use his old phone which was working perfectly. This was a big tax on his pension, which is around €1500 each month. He even turns the phone off during the day to save the battery, and often turns off the ringing sound because it is “too noisy”! He has no idea how to adjust the ringtone or chose a less intrusive ring! He has never used it for the internet, and has no contacts in the phones memory other that what his son has entered.

… and Finland’s old-age dependency ratio is one major challenge that is not being dealt with very quickly by anyone…

Our population aged 65 and over as a proportion of the population aged 20-64 is projected to increase from 25% in 2000 to 43% in 2025, compared with an OECD average of 22% in 2000 and 33% in 2025. That is just 3 years away.

Our political leaders, our banks, our telephone companies, our bus companies, our airlines, our travel companies, our train companies, our cable TV service, our newspapers, our libraries, our social security system, our doctors and hospitals, etc., are all declaring that we are pioneers of the great digital age! 

Have you tried to visit your bank lately? They offer almost no telephone service unless you book a call on the internet…

Do you want to complain about your flight, or about your mobile service – wait half an hour on a paying line and perhaps someone will answer!

Most call centres charge you for calling the number they do not answer. Every minute you wait is another ten cents for them. That is a great business idea – do nothing or offer a lousy service and get rich when angry customers call in and do not get answered.

Older folk should not be treated like cattle being pushed into the slaughterhouse. 

Older folk cannot handle the internet with their intrusive advertisements and confusing cookies. Even your correspondent hesitates before accepting or rejecting the agreement to accept all of basic cookies… nobody really understands the tiny print flashing on the screen.

… and what do the consumer protection people do or the competition authorities do to help the oldies – all those isolated people who gradually sink into their late 70s, 80s and 90s? How many really can manage the complexities of the internet or smart phones…

… and who mentioned that word, “smart phones”. They are anything but smart. The batteries keep running out. The memories are too small. The applications for most people are just too complex to handle. Teams and Zoom require a PhD in computer skills, unlike Skype that was once great and simple to handle. Even a smart guy like Trump could not handle his smart phone… he could not read any emails on it and did not own a laptop.

Can anyone remember all the passwords or the meaning of 4G,5G or PUK codes?How does a pensioner print out a Covid Passport when he has no printer! Loading the passport onto the memory card and showing a copy of the Covid passport on your phone is virtually impossible for most pensioners… why don’t they automatically receive printed copies in the post? Nobody seems to think about simple solutions.

But we need more and tougher solutions that should be set in law. Banks should ordered by law to have a phone line 24/7 open for pensioners. Pensioners should be given an easy method to identify themselves – a simple but clever system that stops crooks and other con men. The same system should be in place for healthcare and other social needs of these people.


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