How confident are you around technology in general?
Welcome to our confidence in internet skills assessment tool. Internet skills form a crucial part of digital inclusion to assist you with:
Everyday living: Using a search engine for research, emailing, banking, paying bills, reading news, accessing services (e.g. MyGov), making Zoom or other video calls.
Shopping and entertainment: Various forms of online shopping, consuming books/magazines/movies/TV online.
Social networking: Chatting on messenger apps, uploading content for friends and family.
Gaming: Playing standalone or connected/networked games online.
Based on previous research about internet skills, our tool covers five categories. You can self-assess your internet skills and download a visualisation of your confidence in each category by clicking on our "Interactive Tool" - or "download pdf" if you prefer to print the tool and do the self-test with pen and paper. Click "Learn More" for a detailed internet skills category description.
Click on the categories below to learn more about why you need skills in each category, how you may improve them, and what our research says about the skills of senior Australians in each category.
You can find support on digital skills training for older adults and government programs via our Essential Links page.
The questions in our assessment tool were based on: Alexander J.A.M.van Deursen, Ellen J. Helsper & Rebecca Eynon (2016) Development and validation of the Internet Skills Scale (ISS), Information, Communication & Society, 19:6, 804-823, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1078834
Technical skills are essential to operate and use devices and applications. As such, these skills form the foundation for ICT usage in the first place and are your ticket into the more advanced skills.
Our research shows that senior Australians were more confident with their technical skills compared with the other categories.
You can obtain and maintain these skills through computer/ICT classes for seniors from services such as your local library or U3A. In addition, technical skills can often be learned step-by-step, which means you can write down instructions for later and practise at your own pace.
Information & Search Skills
Information and search skills are skills needed to use the internet to access and find online information sources. That is, they are more subjective and based on experience.
These skills relate to your ability to search, select, and evaluate information in digital media. You need these skills to be able to use the internet on your own, to independently further your digital literacy, and purposely utilise the internet to find reliable information on any topic you are interested in.
To get help to improve these skills, it could be a good idea to show others your trust precisely what you are doing on your device. If there is a gap between what you are doing and what you want to be able to do on your device, write it down and save it for future discussions with others.
Mobile Device Use Skills
Mobile device skills allow you to use more of the functions on your smartphone. To access many areas of daily life (e.g. scanning QR codes to enter buildings), you need to carry an internet-enabled smartphone.
Many seniors struggle with mobile device use skills for various reasons (including small screens that can be difficult to read). The good news is that many of the mobile skills you need can be ‘outsourced’.
For example, downloading apps and setting them up are often one-time operations. As such, you can ask someone you trust to do that for you.
It is generally good advice to have as few apps as necessary on your mobile device. Remember that apps use battery power, so only keep what you want and delete what you do not need.
Social & Sharing Skills
If you want to use the internet to maintain social connections or make new ones, you need social and sharing skills. These skills relate to the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram. The skills you need to use one of these platforms are often transferrable to another application.
First, decide whether you are interested in only consuming content (viewing/reading what others do) or producing content (posting on your own).
Content production requires a deeper understanding of how to manage social media. Also, consider your needs and what purpose or benefit you get from using digital platforms to decide whether you need to improve your social and sharing skills.
Content & Creative Skills
Skills for creating content are the most advanced type of digital literacy skills. Our research shows that such skills are the least prominent among senior Australians – compared with their confidence in the other categories. Moreover, many internet users of any age do not have strong skills in this category.
You may view these skills as aspirational if you are interested in creating digital resources on your own. These skills are not needed to use the internet.
Instead, they are required to expand the internet and produce new content to share with others. Computer classes for seniors (or in general) can help here. The internet itself, in particular, videos on YouTube, can also be of great help in finding out ‘how to’ create various forms of content.