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Ernest Cu urges seniors to go digital, launches #SeniorDigizen campaign to help elderly overcome fear of technology

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Tech rockstar Ernest Cu, President and CEO of leading digital solutions platform Globe Group, has called on Filipino senior citizens to embrace new technology, saying tech-driven solutions are designed to make day-to-day life easier.

Ahead of Globe’s inaugural “Teach Me How to Digi” learning session set January 25, Cu dispelled fears about new tech, saying digitalizing seniors is crucial as more services and activities will go digital in the coming years.

“It’s really very important that our senior citizens learn digital skills because in the future a lot of services will truly become only digital. We have to help seniors overcome their fear, and I guarantee you that once you try it, it’s going to be as easy or much easier than the old manual way,” said Cu, an early tech adopter.

“Like e-money for instance. We don’t hold cash anymore, we don’t hold coins anymore, which is a pet peeve of mine. When they give you change back it’s really a pain where you keep it. These things are there to make life easier, not make life difficult,” he added.

As the leader of a fast-expanding technology company, Cu, 63, is a digital-first senior as he believes automation is key in improving quality of life.

“I believe in efficiency. I believe in convenience. I believe in using automation to improve one’s life. l I hate the manual way of doing things. If I can automate it, I will. I’m an early adopter. I’ve found that they have been very beneficial to my way of life and it’s made my daily life much easier. And so from that point on, I’ve lost my fear of anything new. I like trying and being the first to try something new and you know, if it works, I adopt it in my daily life. If it doesn’t, I dump it. There’s no harm in trying. Who knows? It (going digital) may be the next best thing you’ve ever done in your life,” said Cu.

But for the majority of Filipino seniors, it’s the other way around.

A 2021 report by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies showed that out of digital literacy levels under six ICT indicators of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Filipinos 65 and up were among age groups with the lowest digital literacy levels. Among seniors, just about 18 percent had at least one ICT skill.

A study on Filipino seniors’ smartphone use published in the International Federation for Home Economics, meanwhile, found that while the Filipino elderly know the importance of using smartphones for communication, they “are not very interested” in its unique features such as using apps, which they find challenging.

This underlines the importance of helping Filipino seniors through their digital journey.

“Sa ating mga seniors, ang technology ay hindi nakakatakot. Hindi mahirap. Ang mahirap lang is to overcome the fear and gain the trust that using new technology will be much easier, will make your lives much more convenient, and make things faster. It’s just a matter of trying it. And if you do try, I can almost guarantee you, you’ll enjoy it. So don’t be overcome by the thought of technology. Don’t be intimidated. Try it and I’m sure you will like it,” Cu said.

To bridge this digital divide, Globe is helping Filipino seniors overcome the tech barrier, launching the Globe #SeniorDigizen campaign through a learning session on January 25. The event will gather over 200 senior citizens at the SM North Sky Dome, where they will learn the basics of using smartphones, setting up an email account, and using apps such as GCash, KonsultaMD and the GlobeOne app.

The campaign is in line with Globe’s push for digital inclusion, as it believes technology is key in addressing everyday pain points and uplifting Filipino lives.

To learn more about Globe’s digital inclusion initiatives, visit https://www.globe.com.ph/about-us/sustainability.

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