Never too old to be savvy with smartphone usage
Volunteers educate people aged 50 and up on effective and independent smartphone usage through NTU student project
Until about two weeks ago, senior citizen Lucy Chua's smartphone might as well have been a normal mobile phone.
The 63-year-old retiree did not know many of the functions of the smartphone and its useful applications (apps).
But thanks to the Savvy Silvers campaign, she now knows how to use social networking app Facebook, transport apps Google Maps and SG Buses, and local entertainment app Toggle, among others.
Savvy Silvers is a final-year project by students from the Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.
The campaign aims to teach seniors aged 50 and above how to use their smartphones effectively and independently in a three-hour session, said team member Isadora Ong, 23.
Madam Chua, who attended a Jan 23 session, said: "After attending the lesson, I would watch videos on Facebook and follow the latest local news.
"Also, I now know how to add friends on Facebook and keep up with what is happening in their lives through what they post on Facebook.
"Smartphone technology has become a new topic during my conversations with friends."
The NTU students said they were inspired by their experience with their own parents.
Said Miss Ong: "When my teammates and I tried to teach our parents how to use their phones at home, both parties ended up getting frustrated and impatient.
"So, we thought that having other people teach them how to use their smartphones would be a good solution.
"I think Savvy Silvers could also help seniors understand the many functions of smartphones, helping to bridge the lack of understanding between youth and seniors as well."
The others in the team are Miss Elissa Teo, 23,Miss Jaime Goh, 23 and Miss Sai Fengjia, 24.
They have seven partners, including the People's Association Active Aging Council, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and Singtel.
With a total of 160 senior and youth volunteers recruited to date, there should be at least one facilitator for every two senior citizens.
Madam Chua said: "If my children were to teach me, I could not absorb much.
"The lessons were very clear and well-paced. If there is anything I am unsure of and ask others, I don't feel as lost now as in the past because I have already acquired the basic skills to use the applications."
Another participant, Madam Chua Tok Choo, 67, said: "Many senior citizens only know how to use their phones to pick up and make calls but not learn about the other functions of the phone. We have to keep learning."
The next sessions of the Savvy Silvers campaign will be held on Feb 20 at Fengshan and Woodlands community centres (CC). Seniors interested can sign up at these CCs. There is a $2 administrative fee.