When it comes to taking advantage of the internet, national data shows that senior citizens are no slackers. In late January, a Charlotte community forum is bringing together leaders and organizations to examine new ways to strengthen digital literacy in an already flourishing demographic group.
The community forum, titled “Crossing the Digital Divide at 55+,” is hosted by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Digital Inclusion Steering Team. Free and open to the public and to all organizations with interests in supporting senior citizens, the event is scheduled for 8:30 to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, in Room 280 of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center (600 E 4th St, Charlotte, NC 28202).
According to the Pew Research Center, about 84 percent of American adults use the internet. Of those, 81 percent of adults aged 50-64 use the internet — an increase of 46 percent since 2000. Fifty-eight percent of adults aged 65 or older use the internet, an increase of 14 percent.
“Senior citizens are clearly engaged and committed to using the internet and to learning more about it,” said Bruce Clark, digital inclusion project manager for the City of Charlotte. “This forum will help us better understand opportunities, resources, and collaboration that will strengthen digital and media literacy in the senior community.”
At least three key questions will be discussed at the forum, Clark says:
- How do existing areas of focus affect seniors in the Charlotte community, and the organizations that serve them?
- What successful programs are currently operating and serving the digital inclusion needs of Charlotte seniors?
- What opportunity is there for scaled, new, or enhanced digital inclusion programming in the community?
The expected audience for the event is organizations and public services that serve senior citizens, including community-based providers, nonprofit organizations, and senior-focused businesses. Individuals and organizations interested in participating in the event should register on this form: