Australian government offers online safety courses for seniors

In the wake of more elderly people turning to online services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian government has launched a series of free online safety courses for senior Australians to help them improve their digital skills and avoid potential online risks as more turn to online services during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hosted by eSafety Commissioner trainers, each webinar will offer Australians aged 65 or over guidance on how to carry out video chats across multiple platforms, order groceries and other shopping essentials online for home delivery, access essential services such as telehealth and banking, along with updated information about coronavirus from the government via its recently launched information app and the australia.gov.au website.

Advice developed by Scamwatch about how to avoid current online scams have also been included as part of the hour-long webinars.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the eSafety webinars would reinforce online skills and prepare users for problems they may encounter.

"The online world can often be daunting for senior Australians but it needn't be," he said.

"These online courses offer practical advice to empower users to navigate online services that support their daily needs."

Must read: Australian government readies COVID-19 information app

The webinars are part of the federal government's AU$47 million Digital Literacy for Older Australian initiative launched in 2017 to build the online skills and safety of older Australians.

Similar initiatives have been funded by the federal government to help non-government organisations deliver online safety education and training projects targeted at children. 

Earlier this year, the Australian government also released a booklet targeted at parents with kids under the age of five that offered advice on how they could keep their children safe online. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Online Safety for under 5s, which was developed by the eSafety Commissioner, would help keep more children safe. 

"It's critical we give parents the tools and knowledge they need to have these discussions because the online world isn't an optional extra in people's lives," Morrison said.

"We want to keep young people safe at every age and at every stage."

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