Results from the Esper House Report noted that “particularly in the senior community there is a need for better education and skill building with communications technologies and services.”
Many of Esper House’s study groups indicated that they acquired devices and tools but did not know how to use them or understand the cost involved. Seniors expressed this in a variety of ways: “I can take pictures but can’t get the pictures out”; “sometimes I open my laptop and it says you’re not connected and I don’t understand why”; “I don’t stream anything. I don’t know what that means.”
For people of color respondents to the Scientific Residential Survey, 19% did not have internet at home. The main barrier to home internet was that they did not know how to use it which indicates that education opportunities are needed.
Responses from community media, library and technology nonprofit representatives noted that once people are trained on the use of computers, they often need ongoing technical and other support which is a challenge to provide. Library representatives identified that library patrons are in continuous need of education, training and support in order to use the publicly available internet at the libraries.
Esper House noted that the need for support is present in the disabled community as well, indicating that “communications technology remains inaccessible to many in the disabled community because of cost and difficulty in receiving support.” A disable interviewee said, “we have a lot of students that have adaptive software, but they don’t have the skills to use it.”