Cloud, spam and virus: EE reveals the jargon giving jitters to over 60s

• Three quarters (74%) of over 65s find tech words such as hashtag, selfie and data confusing, according to research from EE.

 • More than a quarter don’t know what an email is and over one in three unaware of the meaning of smartphone.

 • Over half (58%) of over 65s found tech jargon off-putting in their quest to get online; it was viewed as a bigger barrier than cost, data privacy or even fears about getting scammed.

 • EE National Techy Tea Party Day, which takes place on 9 September 2014, aims to help people feel comfortable getting online.

 • To register to attend a Techy Tea Party on 9 September visit any EE store across the UK or go to

Mistaking a cloud for ‘The Cloud’, a hashtag for a hash brown and spamming for serving up canned pre-cooked meat are just some of the common misunderstandings that are preventing older people from getting online, according to results of a survey commissioned by EE to mark the first National Techy Tea Party Day.

The study explored the digital behaviour of over 65 year olds around the UK and the results revealed a generation of older people being left out in the cold by common technology jargon. Over half (58%) said it was the single biggest reason they weren’t online, ranked over worries about data privacy (53%), cost (29%) and fears over getting scammed (54%). 

Half of those questioned (49%) didn’t know what megabyte (MB) meant, even fewer (45%) gave the correct answer for data and one in three (36%) didn’t know that a computer could catch a virus. The confusion was even higher when it came to newer tech phrases, with the vast majority unsure what meme (96%), emoji (95%) and GIF (92%) mean.

Even words considered part of everyday language are leaving some over 65s perplexed. More than a quarter (27%) were not confident they knew the meaning of the word email, over a third (38%) were unsure what

a smartphone is and half (50%) were unsure what social media is. This is despite the majority of this everyday tech jargon being found in the Oxford English Dictionary. 



Tech terminology**

Number who don’t know what it means















Cloud computing






**all terms listed present in the Oxford English Dictionary

The findings revealed that the confusion is leaving over 65s looking for help to get online. Seven in ten (71%) of those questioned revealed they have had to ask their children or grandchildren for help while 5% revealed they are too embarrassed to ask for any help at all.

In recognition of the many barriers people of all ages face when it comes to getting online, EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, has launched National Techy Tea Party Day. Set to take place on Tuesday 9 September 2014, over 500 EE stores – which will cease normal trading between 9.30am-11am – offices and contact centres will host informal one-on-one sessions for members of the public to help them ask their burning technology questions and overcome any hesitations they may have.

Of the 57% of over 65s who are already online the benefits are clear, with 64% claiming that it has helped their relationships with friends and family, by allowing them to speak more regularly. Email is the most popular tool for over 65s already online, used by 78%. Researching goods and services and reading the news are the next two most popular uses, enjoyed by 65% and 44% respectively.

Deidre Burns, Director of Retail at EE, said: “There are many barriers when it comes to getting online – especially for older people who haven’t grown up in a digital era – and many of these new tech terms are confusing for people of all ages.  Through EE National Techy Tea Party Day we want to use our staff’s expert knowledge to ensure those most in need get help to develop essential digital skills.”

Registration opens today and anyone interested in attending a Techy Tea Party can visit any EE store or go to

- ENDS –

*Research among 500 over 65s carried out by TNS Global between 13 and 26 August 2014

For more information, please contact the EE Press Office:

Olivia Burrell,, 07816 131 302

Rik Salmon,, 07834 980 541

Notes to editors

*Over 500 EE stores will take part in National Techy Tea Party Day between 9/9.30-11am on the 9th of September 2014 so that EE can focus on delivering essential digital skills support at a series of nationwide in-store Techy Tea Party events. EE recommends that customers wishing to come into an EE store for reasons other than joining a Techy Tea Party come in after 11am. Should customers come in to store during this time, a dedicated member of staff will be available to support customers with general queries. 

About EE’s Techy Tea Party initiative

EE launched Techy Tea Parties in October 2012 as part of its commitment to building the nation’s digital skills and to enable its employees to support an important social issue. Since launch 1,000 EE employees have volunteered at over 100 Techy Tea Parties, in 26 different locations, across its offices, contact centres and in community venues.

Through the Techy Tea Party initiative EE has helped over 1,100 guests with their tech challenges. Feedback from Techy Tea Parties has been extremely positive, with 90% of guests saying they had learnt more about the internet and technology due to attending the event. 

EE has also launched consumer digital skills resources at that provide people with tips and tools to inspire their friends and family to get online, as well as e-safety advice for parents. This activity supports EE’s commitment to Go ON UK, a charity which EE is a Founder partner of.

About EE

EE is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. EE has approximately 15,000 employees and 550 retail stores, and serves more than 30 million customers across its mobile, fixed and wholesale businesses.

EE runs the UK's biggest, fastest and most reliable mobile network, pioneering the UK's first superfast 4G mobile service in October 2012. EE's 4G coverage today reaches more than 70% of the UK population.  EE’s 2G coverage reaches 99% of the population while 3G reaches 98%. EE's superfast fibre broadband service covers 54% of the UK population, and ADSL broadband service covers 98.7% of the population.

 In the last few years, EE has received extensive independent recognition including being ranked the UK's best overall network by RootMetrics®, Best network at the 2014 Mobile News Awards, Fastest Network at the 2013 uSwitch Awards, Best Network at the 2013 Mobile Choice Consumer Awards and What Mobile Awards, Network Innovation at the 2013 Recombu awards and Best Network for Business at the 2013 Mobile Industry awards.

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