Does Generation X really trust the Internet?



I laugh at my Mum who goes to Shaftesbury library to find out what to do. She’s 84 and you’d have thought she’d have learned how to use an iphone by now.

I mean my 17 year old kid can tell how many minutes he has to wait at the bus-stop.

Moral – he who judges this way is a poor father  and a worse son,


My mother was brought up in a world where you found information in the Radio Times or the newspaper. Even for me digital resources were restricted to directory enquiries and teletext. But these information sources were definitive

Will there be authorities in the future or just a hierarchy of informational sources?

When I want a restaurant in London, I can turn to a number of online resources to give me reviews from professional diners, amateur enthusiasts and the great unwashed (of which I am one) who occasionally remember to rate the experience we had with the booking site we used.

Information is now relative. I phoned a restaurant to make a booking today, they had left the phone un manned- the voicemail wasn’t working- I held for 15 minutes because I didn’t trust the online booking system. When I got through I was scolded for my lack of trust.

I booked up for Broadband with BT. A lady phoned me from India to say I owed another £130 because I hadn’t got the landline connected. I referred the matter to their customer service team in England; I was right, the internet was right and Mumbai was wrong.

We have no authorities , we can take nothing on trust.


What does this mean for financial advice? If all information is relative, doesn’t this mean advice is relative too?

We take nothing on trust?

No – there are trusted sources- there are people on our side – Martin Lewis – Paul Lewis -Ros Altmann.

And then there are the computer algorithms. Here’s Ian Brewer who glories in the title

Award Winning Remote Financial Advice Distribution Specialist and Innovator in changing Advice Distribution

I think there’s a real deep truth here, we are more candid with the machine, even when we know there is someone or something on the other side of the screen analysing what we input”

You can’t fiddle an algorithm?

Maybe my Mum’s right, maybe Ian’s wrong, maybe we should trust nobody or nothing.

But will we ever get things done like that?

My Dad sits at home and complains that nothing is like what it used to be. I worry that many people in their 80s will have his problem.

There’s just nothing left for my Dad to rely on.

Somehow we’ve got to get trust back into the system- the advisory system. We need our websites  to be as authorative as or

Maybe the first wave of robo advisers – Nutmeg and the like- are the advanced guard. They may have arrived too late for my parents but for my 17 year old son they’re the obvious means to transact.

It’s people like me who I worry about.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Does Generation X really trust the Internet?

  1. David says:

    I think no generation will trust the internet eventually, as they get older and wiser to it.

    I think when you mention authoritative sites and use the BBC as an example is where you’re probably going wrong with the internet.
    The internet is great as long as you use a range of sources for your information, not blindly trust one to tell you the facts.

    It’s interesting for example to read stories about the G20 on the BBC website, and then read some articles on Zero Hedge on the same G20 event.
    It suddenly neutralises either sides angle and makes you view it for what it really is, not what someone wants you to think it is.

    Much like Money Saving Expert often only offers any savings or benefits for serial shoppers, dimwits, or people already knee deep in credit debt.
    As someone who is already savvy in money regards there is very little you can benefit from there… and in some cases the advice may be best ignored too depending on your specific circumstances.

    If people can’t view the internet and information there sceptically, then they are just as vulnerable in their entire lives from the likes of lying politicians, advisers with an ulterior motive, or just good old door to door snake oil salespeople.

    Perhaps the internet being so awash with variable information is a good thing as it’ll teach people to view any and all information as biased. Being able to filter it and be critical of information is a good life lesson in our increasingly commercial and greed orientated world.

    • henry tapper says:

      For many who work in corporations, the subtle distinctions you make David, are not apparent. This is particularly the case in financial services which has a very odd view of the internet and of a “digital financial promotion”

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