One in ten over-65s would rather learn a foreign language – than digital jargon

One in ten elderly Brits (11%) reckon they would find it easier to learn a foreign language – than try to understand technical jargon, research has found.

A survey of 2,000 adults, over the age of 65, revealed the top 30 digital words and phrases they struggle to understand – with “smishing”, or SMS phishing, topping the list.

“Phishing”, in general, is another term that leaves them baffled, while others have never heard of “vishing”, or voice phishing. Meanwhile, other forms of cyber-attack, such as malware, ransomware, and spam, also leave them scratching their heads.

And many admit they don't fully grasp things like hardware, software, or a browser or search engine, and how to use them.

As a result, many wish they could ask for help when it comes to what to do online – but 16% worry about being a burden to others.

However, with the research revealing that one in six can't get their head around different aspects of technology, BT Group has partnered with AbilityNet, and lexicographer Susie Dent, to create a Digital Dictionary, consisting of the 21 most commonly misunderstood words used on the internet.

Susie said: “Whilst so much of modern life seems easier online – whether that’s booking a doctor’s appointment, managing your finances, or doing the weekly shop – we’re forgetting one crucial thing: it’s only easier if you understand the language the web is built on. So, it’s great that this Digital Dictionary is a guide that simplifies the language.”

The survey also found the over-65s spend just five and a half hours a week online – with 78% feeling left behind by their lack of knowledge.

Just over half (54%) wish they were more knowledgeable when it comes to computing – but 17% of these feel a lack of motivation, while others believe there is simply too much to learn.

The main feeling for people who struggle with online jargon is frustration, while others feel silly, or even stupid.

And while easy access to information (31%), convenience (17%), and keeping in touch with friends and family (15%), were deemed good things about the online world, many had negative things to say.

A third (34%) say their most-disliked thing about being online is scams, while 14% have privacy concerns. And one in ten also stress that not every piece of information they see online is credible, according to the figures.

Victoria Johnson, spokeswoman for BT Group, added: “As younger generations grow up with the internet, it gets even harder for older generations to understand ever-changing online jargon.

“But for anyone who isn’t a digital native, and didn’t grow up with smartphones or super-fast broadband, it can feel like a whole new world to some.

“It’s a shame to see from the research that older adults feel they are a burden when asking for help navigating their way online. We want to create a more inclusive society, by helping them make the most of life in the digital world.

“We hope that the variety of online guides will give people the confidence to start exploring the internet, and will give them all the training and support needed to live life to the full in the digital age.”


  1. Smishing
  2. Vishing
  3. Hyperlink
  4. USB-C
  5. Ransomware
  6. URL
  7. Phishing
  8. QR code
  9. The Cloud
  10. Malware
  11. IP address
  12. Cookies
  13. Streaming
  14. Tabs
  15. Processor
  16. Spam
  17. Antivirus
  18. Hardware
  19. Browser
  20. Upload
  21. USB
  22. Social media
  23. Emojis
  24. Webpage
  25. App
  26. Google
  27. Download
  28. Search engine
  29. Software
  30. Smartphone

Source: Read Full Article