Just 20% of Londoners aged 75 or over claim they used the internet more during the pandemic – while 10% actually used it less.
That’s according to research from Age UK, which said that the results contrasted with the belief that the crisis has seen an acceleration in internet use among older people.
The most frequently cited reasons for not using the internet more are: a lack of digital skills, followed by not having access a computer, tablet or Wi-Fi, and lack of confidence and trust in the internet, including a fear of scams.
Local Age UKs provide a vital service in supporting older people who would like to use the internet.
This includes running digital skills sessions centred on the specific needs and preferences of older people and providing devices and connectivity.
Lockdown measures made it much harder to deliver these services that rely on face-to-face contact.
Abigail Wood, CEO of Age UK London, said: “We want the experiences and views of older Londoners to form part of the discussion on digital inclusion in London. To address the profound challenge of digital exclusion we propose a range of actions that would help to tackle some the barriers to getting online outlined in our report.
“As the city recovers from the pandemic we need action to support those older people who want to get online to do so, by ensuring that they have access to affordable data and devices and are supported to develop the skills and confidence needed to participate online.
“At the same time we must do everything we can to ensure that those who do not use the internet, for whatever reason, are never disadvantaged or even discriminated against when it comes to accessing support and services.”