Digitalisation for Seniors

MP Gerald Giam

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song (Aljunied): Sir, digitalisation has taken off in a big way in Singapore. Unfortunately, this has also left many elderly and less tech-savvy citizens behind. What takes digital natives a few seconds to complete can be painfully difficult for some seniors. Many struggle to come up with strong passwords and have difficulty typing them. Tapping a phone screen or double clicking a mouse poses dexterity challenges. 

The solution, however, is not to run manual and digital services in parallel forever. That would negate the productivity benefits brought about by digitalisation. Instead, firms and Government agencies should provide in-person assistance to seniors to navigate their digital services.

I am aware that ServiceSG centres have been set up to assist seniors with Government digital services. However, there are only six such centres, which may not be within easy reach of all residents. Can more ServiceSG centres be set up in every neighbourhood? More importantly, how is the Government raising awareness among residents of their availability? Are private sector organisations like banks expected to provide such services for their less digitally savvy customers?

Many seniors are already wary of using technology. The threat of scams amplifies their fears. While seniors are not the only victims of scams, they tend to feel much more vulnerable. Their adult children, Government advertisements and the media are constantly sounding warnings to them. That message has sunk in to such an extent that many of them avoid using digital services like Internet banking altogether, for fear of being scammed. However, without Internet banking accounts, they will encounter many roadblocks in an increasingly cashless society.  

How is the Government tackling the challenge of getting seniors to embrace digital technology while also ensuring they are informed about basic precautions to avoid falling victim to scams?

Ministry of Communications and Information
28 February 2023

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