COCKBURN council has signed up to Youngster. co, a business paying youngsters over 16 to teach seniors tech skills.
Co-founder and entrepreneur Tony Rothacker said the main purpose of the program was to tackle the connection between unemployment and suicide in young people.
“Studies show that among the root causes of youth suicide is too much time spent on social media. This program enables young people to make use of their digital technology skills in a meaningful way that enriches their community, and by connecting two vulnerable groups at risk of isolation,” Mr Rothacker said.
Cockburn Youth Centre coordinator Joshua Gardner said Youngster.co’s program helped to dispel the stigma sometimes attached to young people.
“For seniors it’s a chance for them to share their knowledge and experience with young people whilst ultimately getting their devices set up so that they can actually use them efficiently.”
Initially the program was run as an eight-week trial, says the council’s community services chief Gail Bowman, but following its success, a funding application had been submitted to the state government for further sessions.
Ms Bowman says the most common help youngsters give seniors during the free 30-minute library and senior citizen centre-based sessions, are accessing MyGov, Medicare and ServiceWA, and making sure Covid-related information is linked and properly displaying.
She says although the city is prepared to deliver the program online and over phone calls, it prefers in-person assistance.
“The city is committed to ensuring our seniors stay digitally connected and we welcome any seniors, no matter their skill level to come and try a session with our patient and kind young people who are ready to assist,” Ms Bowman said.
The program, which runs from 10am-12pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays , also caters to people with English as a second language.
stories by ELIZABETH TAN