Another 47 seniors have been appointed as ambassadors of digital lifestyles, in hopes of inspiring more of their peers to adopt practices such as using e-payment methods and shopping online.
They join 234 other members of the Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassador (Siwa) programme, which was introduced eight years ago and has been helping seniors to understand digital tools.
In a virtual meeting with the new ambassadors yesterday, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran underscored the importance of their ability to support fellow seniors, who might be anxious about technology.
"Having gone through the process of learning digital skills themselves, they better understand the concerns of other seniors and can help make their learning journeys a lot more fun and a lot less stressful," said Mr Iswaran.
The 281 ambassadors under the voluntary Siwa programme are appointed by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and People's Association Active Ageing Council.
Anyone aged 50 and above can be an ambassador, as long as he is active with IT and can encourage his peers to adopt digital technology. Those interested can apply online. The programme has an annual intake, and applications this year have closed.
The IMDA said yesterday that the Siwa programme complements the Singapore Digital Office (SDO) introduced on May 31.
This SDO will recruit 1,000 digital ambassadors by the end of this month to help seniors as well as stallholders at hawker centres and wet markets to learn how to use digital tools - skills that the Government says are more important than ever, given disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, Mr Iswaran spoke to some of the Siwa members about their experience teaching fellow seniors how to use smartphones, tablets and other devices.
One of them, Mr James Abeyratne, said it is important to explain to seniors the thinking behind using a particular device, and to guide them as they use it.
The 64-year-old entrepreneur also writes down instructions for the seniors. To reinforce the teaching, the seniors demonstrate how to use the devices after the lesson, said Mr Abeyratne.
Such steps are important, said Mr Iswaran, adding that it is also important to remove jargon and keep explanations simple.
"I'm not saying dumb it down, that is not right. We should just make it simple," he said.
In a separate statement yesterday, Mr Iswaran stressed the importance of community involvement in helping Singapore embrace technology.
"Going digital should be a priority, and as our way of life becomes more digital, more in our community are also reaching out and putting up their hands to help one another go digital," he said.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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