The first perception we have of a crisis is danger. Sometimes under intense pain, as in the current pandemic. But it can also be an opportunity for change sustained by a trend that already existed previously. That is the case of the digital transformation of society, which has accelerated exponentially during confinement, one of the few positive things that this terrible health crisis has brought us. And our elders, the most vulnerable to Covid-19, are among its main beneficiaries.
Many have discovered that practically everything can be done with the internet. Have a consultation with the doctor, order medicines, deal with the administration, buy, access private services and, above all, get informed. The fundamental thing during the worst moments of confinement is that it has served us all to communicate. No matter how far away we are, we can talk and see each other 24 hours a day. Fighting loneliness and social exclusion has been a priority during the alarm period. But for older people living in remote and increasingly depopulated rural areas, it is always a priority.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) speaks of the “inclusive revolution” as the objective to pursue to achieve a more digital society. For the supranational institution, digitization implies greater economic growth and prosperity. In a period as difficult as the current one, it has facilitated the implementation of essential government support for families and businesses. In many countries, advancing the desired digitization faces the technological obstacle of limited infrastructure. However, in Spain all studies show that the main deficiency is the training of society, from human technical capital to users’ own digital training. The authorities and the rest of the economic agents have to do everything possible to overcome this obstacle. No one can be left out of the benefits of digitization. And age should not be an impediment to advance, as it should not be for the rest of the important facets of life.
The AEB Foundation, of the Spanish Banking Association, and the CyberVolunteers Foundation have launched the third edition of Expertclik, its free digital training program for people over 55 who reside in rural areas throughout Spain. The main difference with respect to the two previous programs is that this time the training will be entirely online, with a virtual classroom of maximum twelve students, to avoid any risk of contagion. Municipalities and social entities that represent the elderly can apply to participate in this project on the page www.expertclick.org. The ultimate goal of the program is to make the most of digitization and thereby improve their quality of life.
The 100 workshops that start from now until the end of the year consist of three sessions of one and a half hours each, in which through the mobile or tablet it is taught from a practical perspective how to handle the Internet with confidence and security. These are the three characteristics that define the initiative. It is a personalized training and accompanied beyond the sessions, with a telephone reinforcement channel that will be in force until one month after the end of the program.
The Covid-19 has changed the way we live and work. The way that companies produce and engage with customers is also changing. It remains to be seen how many of all these changes are final. What is certain is that digital technology that was already part of our lives before the crisis is now essential. Let us know all the possibilities it offers to make life easier, especially in contexts as complex as today.
José Luis Martínez Campuzano is a spokesperson for the Spanish Banking Association (AEB)