Marking the International Day of Older Persons this Friday, the United Nations is driving home the message that “digital equality” online, needs to be inclusive of everybody, regardless of age.  

In his message, the UN Secretary-General said that as each individual faces the challenge of navigating the world’s growing reliance on technology, “perhaps no population could benefit more from support, than older persons.”

For António Guterres, these technologies can help older citizens stay connected with loved ones, attend a religious service or take a stance. 

All of these actions and many more are increasingly carried out online, especially as individuals and communities grapple with restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Older persons have often been left more isolated during the pandemic and they are also at greater risk of suffering from the rising threat of cybercrime.

While taking all possible measures to hold to account those unscrupulous criminals preying on older persons, we must also work to strengthen the digital skills of the elderly as an important defence, and means to improve their well-being,” Mr. Guterres said.  

For him, older persons are far more than a vulnerable group: “They are a source of knowledge, experience and rich contributions to our collective progress.” 

The UN Secretary-General also argued that, when older persons can access and use new technology, they will be better equipped to contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

He concluded asking for more inclusive policies, strategies and actions to achieve digital equality for people of all ages, according UN News.  

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