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Older people seeking to build digital confidence

BT Group launches Senior Skills programme to help over 65s feel more confident using technology


The older generation is comfortable using Google Maps and WhatsApp - but won’t set up their smart TV or talk to AI.

A poll of 1,000 people aged 65 and over found the top tech tasks people are - and aren’t - willing to do.

Firing off a WhatsApp is something 64 per cent feel comfortable with - but only 12 per cent would be confident navigating TikTok.

Not being shown how to use something (40 per cent) and finding new tech complicated and overwhelming (29 per cent) are the major factors holding this age group back.

And nearly a fifth (19 per cent) would be more inclined to build their confidence with digital technology if they had someone show them how to use it.

Victoria Johnson, Social Impact Director at BT Group, which is aiming to get thousands of older people clued up on technology, said: "Technology can open so many doors.

“At BT Group we’re working with UK charity AbilityNet to deliver more than 1,000 group and one-to-one training sessions to those who need it most in regions across the UK.

“Technology is no longer a take-it-or-leave it proposition, it is a fundamental part of life and older people should not be left behind.”

The research supported the argument older people tend to struggle with digital technology, as just 13 per cent rated their ability as ‘very good’.

And only one in 20 strongly agree they try and stay up to date with the latest digital technology trends and advancements.

More than half (52 per cent) would ask their kids for help if they needed assistance with something, while five per cent would just give up.

However, 91 per cent regularly use a mobile phone, and 56 per cent of over-65s are users of a tablet.

On average, older adults spend 20 hours a week online, or a little under three hours per day.

Although nearly a tenth (eight per cent) are online for under five hours weekly, according to the data.

Facebook (65 per cent) is the overwhelming social media platform of choice for the older generation – with YouTube (34 per cent) and Instagram (16 per cent) dwindling in comparison.

Only two per cent of over 65s are Snapchat users.

And more than half (57 per cent) say they would like to be better at using and understanding digital technology.

Victoria Johnson added: “For younger people – especially those in the Gen Z demographic, or younger still – tech has been a part of their lives forever.

“Many will have grown up with the internet, smartphones and streaming services from the day they were born.

“These are huge digital advances that people born decades earlier will have to make big adjustments to, so it’s no wonder there are still gaps in their knowledge.

“Our new Senior Skills programme aims to help close this gap and get the older and digitally excluded generation feeling more tech savvy.”

Sarah Brain, Free Service Manager at AbilityNet, said: “This research continues to show the need for support for digital skills for the older generation to ensure they feel equipped and confident to manage their day-to-day lives and stay connected to the outside world. 

“We’re thrilled to be supported by BT Group to deliver this digital skills training and help bridge the divide.”

If you know someone who needs digital skills training, call AbilityNet on 0800 048 7642 during

office hours or email .

Notes to editors:

BT Group’s purpose

BT Group’s purpose is to connect for good, and we recognise that we will only succeed if we create products and services that directly address the challenges faced by the communities and customers we serve. BT Group has a long-standing history of being a responsible business. As well as providing essential communications services, we have led on climate action for almost three decades and supported people with their digital skills, most recently through BT Group Digital Skills.

In December 2021 BT Group launched its new Manifesto, BT Group’s agenda for growth. It outlines our ambitious goals for change: our net zero carbon and circular economy pathways; our targets to help build our customers digital skills; our ambition to energise a more diverse digital talent movement. It also includes requirements for bold policy changes to enable this journey.

The BT Group Manifesto incorporates BT Group’s core beliefs and is split into three beliefs – to act more responsibly, create a more inclusive society and be more sustainable. By forming the Manifesto, BT Group is creating a movement to inspire businesses to commit to doing better; enabling the nation to take action on responsible technology, climate change and improving their digital skills.

Find out more about our beliefs .

About BT Group

BT Group is the UK’s leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications and related secure digital products, solutions and services. We also provide managed telecommunications, security and network and IT infrastructure services to customers across 180 countries.

BT Group consists of three customer-facing units: Consumer serves individuals and families in the UK; Business* covers companies and public services in the UK and internationally; Openreach is an independently governed, wholly owned subsidiary wholesaling fixed access infrastructure services to its customers - over 650 communication providers across the UK.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit

*Business was formed on 1 January 2023 from the combination of the former Enterprise and Global units.  It commenced reporting as a single unit from 1 April 2023, with pro forma reporting information to be produced ahead of BT Group’s Q1 FY24 results.

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