Be Connected | Communities we work with | Digital Mentoring

Digital mentoring across generations

Highlighting the power of intergenerational digital skills programs across our Network.

By Good Things Foundation Australia · 20/09/2022

Text reads: Digital mentoring across generations. Intergenerational digital skills programs in our Network.

Community organisations across our nationwide Network are showing how impactful intergenerational digital skills programs can be.

Our Network Partners share how bringing together younger and older generations is building digital literacy, social skills, and connections in their communities.

The Place Charlestown Community Centre

The Place Charlestown Community Centre is bringing together generations to kick start not just older Australians’ digital skills, but also lifelong friendships.

Through the Be Connected Capacity Builder Grant, The Place Charlestown Community Centre has supported 130 high school students and 46 community members so far to become digital mentors. Using Be Connected resources and their own ‘Mentor Missions’ prompt cards, the young digital mentors have helped over 298 older people in their community to get involved and excited about digital technology through activities like using social media and YouTube.

“When they start the program, a lot of the young people are a little unsure of how they’ll go,” says Cristelle, Centre Manager at The Place Charlestown Community Centre. “But by the end of it, they’ve realised how much they can actually contribute to mentoring seniors.”

Grace, Programs Coordinator & Lead Digital Mentor at The Place Charlestown Community Centre, says that the most rewarding aspect for her is seeing the relationships and social connections built along the way:

“The biggest benefit was the younger and older people having conversations and realising they have a lot in common and can learn from each other, with digital literacy as the common ground.”

The Place Charlestown Community Centre’s intergenerational program has been a great success over the last two years, with many students continuing digital mentoring in their daily lives. pairs teenage and young adult digital mentors with senior learners to create meaningful connections and build the essential digital skills of older Australians. Through the support of the Be Connected program, shows the positive impacts of bridging generational and digital literacy gaps.

“The [intergenerational] connections benefit our younger mentors and older learners,” says Tony Rothacker, Co-Founder. “The youngsters provide tech help for seniors while learning essential life skills simultaneously.” Digital Mentor Sienna and senior learner Ruth know just how important these connections are. After meeting through Be Connected, the pair became quick friends as Sienna taught Ruth practical digital skills like scanning QR codes.

“I’m so pleased to have a young person like Sienna to help me,” Ruth told the ABC. “I think it keeps you a bit younger.”

“I would definitely consider Ruth my friend; getting to know her and her interests is something I have come to love,” Sienna told the ABC. “Ruth has changed my perspective on older people. She has such an interesting life, but it’s not only what she had done when she was younger, it’s what she’s doing now.”

Watch the heart-warming story of Ruth and Sienna in the below clip from ABC’s Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds.

Want to make an impact in your community? Join the national Be Connected Network and receive grant funding, resources and support to improve the digital skills of Australians aged over 50. Call the Be Connected helpline on 1300 795 897 or go to the Be Connected Network website.