Commentary: Seniors are spending too much time on their smartphones which can spell trouble


For a lot of, communications on immediate messaging platforms are sometimes pushed by needs to take care of in addition to to accentuate their relationships – as an illustration, sending that morning greeting and what appears to be an vital warning about COVID-19 may be seen as a technique to strengthen their ties to household and mates.

This might imply they often prioritise leisure and showing related versus being correct. Coupled with their basic unfamiliarity with the Web and more and more refined disinformation techniques, the phenomenon of seniors changing into extra vulnerable and spreading falsehoods is deeply troubling.

In a 2020 survey, the Cyber Safety Company (CSA) discovered that the aged, or these aged 55 and above, had typically decrease consciousness and adoption of fine cyber practices like sturdy passwords and enabling two-factor authentication. 

This makes them simple prey for on-line scams. Many seniors I meet are savvy in particular person however may be fairly susceptible relating to on-line techniques as a result of these are refined and new to them.

In 2018 as an illustration, the Singapore Police Drive reported aged individuals had been cheated of S$88,000 – an enormous bounce from simply S$4,700 within the earlier yr.

Rip-off techniques are additionally persuasive, notably in the event that they’re conflated with comparable experiences and processes, they’re acquainted with in the actual world (equivalent to giving private particulars to confirm account particulars in a financial institution).

Training can assist. On the current Scaminar convention organised by the Residence Staff Behavioural Sciences Centre of the Ministry of Residence Affairs, one suggestion was to make conversations about scams a every day exercise inside households and mates.


Past the plain consciousness campaigns of scams and on-line falsehoods, the chance of an excessive amount of dependency on smartphones is one thing that can not be handled as simply.

Whereas there is no such thing as a direct proof of extreme use, the rise in seniors utilizing cellular units for varied on-line actions is evident. The IMDA Annual Survey on Infocomm Utilization is an effective indicator.

Essentially the most notable enhance got here from utilizing social networking websites on the cellular for these aged 50-59 years previous – from 64 per cent in 2018 to 85 per cent in 2019. This can be a 21 per cent bounce when in comparison with the typical enhance of simply 3 per cent throughout all age teams for this exercise is important.