Avoiding the Cliff

17 Feb 2015 | Susan Diegelman

Tagged: Planet, Connected World,

On Tuesday, February 10, AT&T recognized Safer Internet Day by joining forces with Google and Project GOAL to host a one-day conference examining the issue of internet safety for older adults.

Safer Internet Day. Ok, I know, it seems there’s a “day” for everything. So what makes internet safety for older adults worth talking about? Well, it’s estimated that the number of adults aged 65+ will more than double to about 71 million by 2017.

In the past, technology mostly provided entertainment, but now it is integral to how we live and connect with our community.

As Americans continue to age, technology will continue to evolve. In the past, technology mostly provided entertainment, but now it is integral to how we live and connect with our community. “Relevancy” was previously framed as the primary reason older adults were not getting online. While seniors overcome this barrier and increase their online activity, they are also becoming more aware of the security dangers that may lurk online.

The Internet continues to evolve from a means of communication to a delivery method for essential services – like banking and healthcare, which is why it is critical that all Americans are comfortable, safe and secure navigating online. This is why AT&T teamed with Google and Project GOAL to promote a day of all-star speakers on this critical topic, with a focus on older Americans.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn talked about the ways we can help seniors protect themselves against fraud, keep their devices safe and make smart policy decisions that address Internet safety. FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeney talked about the role of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection as the service delivery aspect of the Internet becomes more commonplace in our economy.

It’s not unusual to have difficulty keeping pace with innovation, especially after leaving the workforce. A friend of mine refers to this as “falling off the cliff.” It would be unfair to assume that the current generation of older adults is the only generation that will struggle with this. Educating older Americans on issues of online security and digital literacy are important for today’s seniors as well as future generations to come.

How far are you from “the cliff?”

About the Author

Susan Diegelman

Director of Public Affairs, AT&T


Susan brings 20 years of professional experience to AT&T Public Affairs. A veteran of the enterprise software and hosting industries, Susan is well-versed in marketing communications and market strategy in the IT and Telecom industries. Having Joined AT&T’s Public Affairs team in June 2013, she works closely with stakeholders in the seniors and disability communities as well as the education and energy industries.

Susan formerly served as the Director of the Strategic Messaging at AT&T Business Solutions. Previous to that, she held the position of Marketing Director for AT&T’s GEM and Wholesale marketing team. In these roles Susan worked across corporate resources to establish public relations and marketing programs. Susan lead the teams responsible for development of thought leadership content, content merchandizing strategies, segment advertising and collateral and managed a robust events program at the regional and national levels.

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