05/07/2024 02:29 PM
Opinions on topical issues from thought leaders, columnists and editors.

By: Ahmad Nizam Che Kasim

Because of the rapid advancement of technology, it has become increasingly important for gaining access to necessary services, preserving social connections, and participating in activities that are part of daily life.

The level of digital literacy among Malaysia’s older population continues to be a serious concern due to a number of different factors. In spite of the fact that social networking is extremely common in Malaysia, with 93.3 per cent of all Internet users participating in it, only 3.4 per cent of people aged 60 and older were using the internet in the year 2020.

To fully engage in today’s society, which is increasingly driven by technology, it is becoming increasingly necessary for senior citizens to acquire their digital literacy abilities.

Digital literacy essential for healthcare

Not only is digital literacy essential for elders to maintain social relationships, it is also essential for healthcare.

Elderly people, particularly those who live alone or have poor mobility, are more likely to experience social isolation and loneliness than younger people. Online communities, video chatting services, and social media platforms make it possible for seniors to communicate with their friends, family and peers regardless of their physical location.

To protect senior citizens from falling prey to internet scams, it is critical for them to have a solid understanding of digital technology. Phishing emails, bogus websites, and fraudulent social media messages are just some of the usual scams that they will be able to identify and prevent thanks to the abilities that they acquired from this.

Senior citizens can considerably lessen their likelihood of being taken advantage of by con artists by gaining an understanding of digital safety measures such as the creation of robust passwords, the utilisation of two-factor authentication, the identification of secure websites, and the exercise of caution when dealing with personal information.

Seniors are able to evaluate the credibility of online offers and check sources before completing transactions or providing personal information if they have the ability to think critically, which is an essential component of digital literacy.

In addition, having knowledge of security technologies, such as antivirus software and secure browsing techniques, offers an additional layer of protection against hazards that can be found online.

Information on the most recent scam techniques is frequently included in educational programmes that aim to increase digital literacy. This helps to ensure that senior citizens remain aware and cautious.

Benefits of digital literacy

One of the benefits of digital literacy is that it enables elderly citizens to more easily access support services such as online communities, government websites and hotlines. Digital literacy also includes the ability to seek assistance and report scams.

Enhancing one’s digital literacy has a substantial impact on the prevention of fraudulent activities.

Older citizens are responsible for RM552.5 million of the RM2.7 billion that was lost to internet scams between the years 2021 and 2023, according to recent figures. This percentage highlights the financial fragility of older individuals.

It is possible for senior citizens to avoid these losses and traverse the online world with more confidence if they improve their digital literacy. This will enable them to access online services, such as banking and social networking, without risking their safety.

The promotion of computer literacy among senior citizens benefits to their overall well-being, in addition to preventing scams they may encounter. A higher quality of life is achieved as a result of the fact that it enables people to keep their social contacts, gain access to health services, and remain informed.

Therefore, it is essential to have educational programmes and materials that are specifically designed to assist senior citizens in becoming digitally literate in order to cultivate a digital environment that is more secure and welcoming to all individuals.


Ahmad Nizam Che Kasim is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Business and Communication, Universiti Malaysia Perlis.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of BERNAMA)