Almost half of over-65s struggle to use the internet, study finds

  • About 23% of people over 65 have difficulty turning on or logging into a computing device
  • One in four also keeps passwords and login details on a sheet of paper

Almost half of over-65s in Britain are struggling to use the internet, according to alarming research.

A new study of AgeUK claims that almost six million Britons are unable to complete a handful of basic but crucial tasks to stay safe online.

One in five over-65s find it difficult to use web browsers such as Google and Safari, while another 23 percent cannot turn on their device at all.

Adjusting font size, volume and even screen brightness are also problems for more than a quarter, contributing to greater exclusion in a digital age.

“The figures we release today should be a wake-up call for policymakers as they show the alarming extent to which the rush to ‘digital by default’ is excluding our older population,” said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK.

About 23 percent of people over 65 have difficulty turning on or logging into a computing device (stock)

‘It is known that millions of older people are not online and that is bad enough, but it is now also clear that even among those in this age group who are online, the majority have relatively limited digital skills.’

As part of their research, AgeUK collected data from the Office for National Statistics and examined patterns from 2020.

Surprisingly, it found that 21 percent of people over 65 are unable to use their mouse, trackpads and keyboards while struggling with touchscreen functions.

About 35 percent also fail to establish Wi-Fi connections, whether at home, at work or visiting family and friends.

One in four also wrote their password and login details on a sheet of paper that was often left next to their device.

While this may seem like an easy option, Jake Moore, a Global Cybersecurity Advisor, warns that it is not the safest route.

He told MailOnline: ‘Passwords are often the bane of people’s online lives, but the key to keeping accounts secure is to ensure all passwords are unique and long.

‘For convenience and best protection, the best way is to use an online password manager that is fully encrypted, allowing only the owner and their chosen device to access this secure password vault.

‘It may sound less secure, but it is in fact the safest way and then you can just copy and paste the password into the site without having to remember or write it down.

One in four also kept passwords and login details on a piece of paper (stock)

One in four also kept passwords and login details on a piece of paper (stock)


  1. Choose a password that is 18 characters long and contains a combination of numbers, lower and upper case letters, and symbols
  2. If you have trouble remembering a long password, use a password manager
  3. Don’t use the same password for every site you use
  4. Avoid memorable/personal facts such as your dog’s name or your birthday
  5. Avoid a number-based password; these are the least safe

‘It is also important that people use a form of two-factor authentication to provide extra protection for their accounts if someone ever gets hold of their password. This feature is usually easy to follow and can be found in the security settings section of most apps.”

Amid these revelations, AgeUK has launched a new #OfflineandOverlooked campaign that aims to convince the government to offer more offline services.

Letters, phone calls and face-to-face communications are included, as the charity argues that people should not ‘follow a digital route’.

“At Age UK we believe it is time everyone had the right to access public services offline,” Ms Abrahams continued.

‘This isn’t Luddite, far from it – as a charity we run some brilliant digital inclusion programs across the country – but rather a recognition that online methods simply don’t work for millions of older people and never will, and it should must be. may choose to access public services in more traditional ways – by telephone, letter and face-to-face, as appropriate.”

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