By Zonia Lim & Kylie Thor
It’s been well over a year since COVID-19 first unfolded in December 2019. To curb the pandemic’s spread, digitalisation has since become the norm. From the SafeEntry QR codes outside every public space to apps that make payments cashless and fuss-free, majority of Singaporeans have turned to digital tools for communication, entertainment and even learning. While many have readily adapted to the digital age, most of our seniors are still struggling to adjust.
For instance, seniors are generally keen to take up digital apps that facilitate cashless payments, but many are concerned about falling prey to scammers or perhaps paying the wrong amount. While the circuit breaker certainly helped contain COVID-19’s community spread, the corresponding increase in digitalisation has led to a rise in online scams across Singapore, making many seniors wary of taking the digital leap.
To support the SG Digital Office in its mission to accelerate Singapore’s digitalisation through a whole-of-nation movement, the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Lab on Wheels has launched a new Digital Lifestyle & Citizen experience tailored to seniors. Through live demonstrations and hands-on interactions with smart gadgets like walking sticks and fall detection devices, participants can have a taste of the digital age’s creature comforts.
Since its launch, Lab on Wheels has reached out to over 400 enthusiastic participants.
A day in the digital life
The Digital Lifestyle & Citizen experience centered around a senior citizen, Susan. By going through each stage of the tech learning journey, Susan eventually overcomes her fear of tech to become a full-fledged digital citizen.
Likewise, participants onboard the Lab on Wheels followed Susan through her day and saw first-hand her use of various technologies to run errands. For a start, Susan demonstrated how she used the smart home device Alexa to browse cooking recipes and check the weather before heading out for grocery shopping.
Before leaving for the supermarket, Susan highlighted two must-have items in her arsenal: a fall detection device and a smart walking stick. Should she fall while on her way and require urgent medical attention, these two gadgets will alert people nearby or her loved ones through SMS. From asking for their favourite food recipes to finding out the weather and even asking Alexa to tell them a joke, participants thoroughly enjoyed themselves during their ten minutes hands-on session with various smart devices.
Staying safe in the digital age
Aside from running daily errands with the help of digital apps, becoming a full-fledged digital citizen also means understanding the risks that come with using technology. For seniors, in particular, the anxieties and fears surrounding online scams run deep. To safeguard participants from cybercriminals, Susan presented some common online scams as well as useful tips for avoiding these cyber threats—such as checking the legitimacy of QR codes before scanning and practising extra caution before giving out personal information.
During the Digital Lifestyle experience, many participants shared their own experiences with online scams. For instance, one participant previously received a spoof phone call from a “bank” requesting for her bank details. With Susan’s expertise in this field, most of the participants took the opportunity to ask her for advice when encountering a potential online scams.
According to Susan, in today’s digital world, a strong password is another must.
While simple and commonly used passwords may be easier to remember, they also allow hackers to effortlessly break into computers and accounts. Hence, tools like the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) “Password Checker” can be used to create a strong and secure password. With the increasing prevalence of online scams, the whole community must come together to adopt safe and vigilant practices when going online.
Learning never stops with digitalisation
Feeling inspired by Susan’s tech learning journey? Fret not, the IMDA Lab on Wheels Digital Lifestyle experience will pop by community centres and various community events near you! Along with your friends and family, interact with digital technology confidently and safely at the Lab on Wheels and reap the many benefits of leading a digital lifestyle in the process!
Visit the Lab On Wheels Instagram page (@lab.on.wheels) for more details on the buses’ whereabouts in Singapore. For more information about the IMDA Lab on Wheels programmes, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org