One of the main reasons that older people give for not going online is that “people like them” don’t using the Internet. No amount of free computers or cut priced broadband will change that. That’s why Race Online 2012, the organisation that is pushing to get more of us online, constantly uses examples of older people using the Internet as a key way of encouraging other older people to go online. If people feel that it is normal for people like them to do something, then it is very easy for them to do it.
I recently interviewed a middle aged woman, let’s call her Lynn. She explained to me that she does not have enough time to be involved in her local community. She said that she would love to volunteer but she has so many other responsibilities that she just can’t find the time. She seemed to regret not being able to volunteer and, more importantly, she seemed to be somewhat ashamed. I think she felt like she should volunteer and that I might disapprove of her for not volunteering.