World Telecommunication & Information Society Day 2022: Digital technologies for older persons and healthy ageing. This article explores the 53rd World Telecommunication & Information Society Day; its purpose, history, this year’s topic, and an insight into the increase in technological uses in the ageing population.
World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is celebrated on the 17th of May each year, and has been since its founding in 1969, marking the establishment of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU
The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as ways to bridge the digital divide. Like its predecessors, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) focuses on a particular theme for each event. This year it’s “Digital technologies for older persons and healthy ageing”.
“Equitable access to digital technologies isn’t just a moral responsibility, it’s essential for global prosperity and sustainability” is the quote from Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General.
The WTISD Society invites the Member States and Sector Members to celebrate the day annually by organising appropriate national programs with a view to:
stimulating reflection and exchanges of ideas on the theme adopted by the Council
debating the various aspects of the theme with all partners in society
formulating a report reflecting national discussions on the issues underlying the theme, to be fed back to ITU and the rest of its membership.
Facts & Figures
A recent study in tech trends by AARP
showed that three in four people aged 50-plus say they rely on technology to stay connected, with those in their 50s (76%), 60s (79%), and 70s (72%). Proving that older adults continue to reach for their devices. The significant rise in the use of smartphones and tablets recorded in 2020 for such activities as making online purchases, ordering groceries, banking, and engaging in health services continued in 2021, as did the increased use of a multitude of apps.
Here we can clearly see the ageing and older population are embracing and using technologies more than ever, thus fortifying the importance of technologies being accessible to all and offering security easy to handle. “Equitable access to digital technologies isn’t just a moral responsibility, it’s essential for global prosperity and sustainability” is another key quote
this year again from Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General.
Staying Connected: Ageing in a Digital World
Although we made jokes about us being the tech support centers for our elderly loved ones in the past, we are now more than ever appreciative of them being so adaptive. We as the younger generation embraced new and mobile technologies early on to establish communication with those back home. While we had to put mobility to the table for advancing a career, we expected our parents, grandparents and friends to be open and eager to learn our way of communication.
The occasional and expensive long-distance call has been replaced for good. Now we are sharing the first steps of a child and the first day at school or at work with family and loved ones through technology in real-time.
Especially within the older and ageing population individuals were still used to a day to day communication which was once taken for granted. But meeting a friend for a coffee, going out for a walk together or gathering for dinner as an accustomed form of communication was lost during the past three years.
As today’s one billion older adults over 60 and a clear trend of increasing numbers over the next decades, it becomes evident that ageing in a digital world can turn the paradigm of the vulnerable into valuable. The potential of living long lives to 100, and more old than young in all societies as they modernise, is one of the powerful global drivers jointly with the technological rise of our 21st century.
We have seen that technologies and ICTs all over the world can make a fundamental difference in creating accessible, inclusive and age-friendly digital environments and communities. Technologies and ICT can further enable all of us to live a healthy and active later life, participate in and make longer socio-economic contributions to the society, and thus empower all of us to live our lives to the full, in whatever way that may be to individuals. Staying connected has never been so important.