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Seoul to launch special education program for familiarizing elderies with digital service

By Park Sae-jin Posted : May 6, 2021, 17:05 Updated : December 12, 2023, 21:24

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- Seoul will launch a special education program to familiarize old people with digital services such as digital kiosks at restaurants. Some 100 old people would be hired as teachers to offer personalized education at libraries, community centers and senior citizen shelters. 

South Korea with a rapidly aging society is one of the world's most digitalized countries. Some 51.8 million smartphone users are hooked onto nationwide 4G and 5G mobile communication networks. The adoption rate of digital kiosks is very high. Almost every fast-food franchise store runs a kiosk that takes orders and payments. Ordinary restaurants also favor a non-face-to-face digital clerk system due to a  coronavirus pandemic.

Convenient digital tools including unmanned kiosks make life more convenient, but many old people feel uncomfortable. A 2020 Korea Consumer Agency survey of 300 people aged 65 or older showed that 51.5 percent found it hard to use digital kiosks because of complicated steps to make an order. Some 49 percent felt stressed because of the slow speed of placing orders.

To prevent such awkwardness and help older people use digital devices more effectively, a digital embracement program will be launched on May 10, the capital city said in a statement. About 100 elderly teachers and 560 assistants will be deployed at community facilities to educate some 8,000 elderly students. Special classes will be held to raise awareness about digital phishing crimes. 

About 100 special experience zones where older generations can learn to use digital kiosks will be set up. With help from teachers and volunteer supporters, elderly students can make a virtual order using an actual kiosk. Seoul would develop accessibility standards for digital kiosks to create elderly-friendly environments.

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