Why Digital Inclusion Means More Than Just Providing Mobile Devices
At GoodCall we know the importance of promoting digital inclusion through supporting the third sector to deliver impact through mobile tech. However, we know that this goes far beyond simply putting a device in someone’s hands. Digital inclusion is about ensuring the benefits of technology and the internet are as accessible as possible to everyone in our communities. It also means making sure they have the right skills to use it effectively.
That’s why we are focussing this blog series on digital inclusion and what it means for the third sector and the people they support – by raising awareness of this issue we want to support third sector to be a champion for positive change.
Did you know?
A lack of digital skills and accessibility can have a significant impact on an individual’s life – research has shown that this can include:
- Less access to employment opportunities and education
- Exclusion from local and national services
- Loneliness and social isolation
- Poorer health outcomes and even a lowered life expectancy
Digital inclusion is not only about whether people can get online, but also their skills and ability, as well as digital literacy. Around 22% of UK adults (11.9 million people) do not have the essential digital skills for day-to-day life (Lloyds Digital Index, 2020). Digitally-excluded people can lack skills and confidence along with having barriers to accessing equipment and connectivity – this can exacerbate inequality and social exclusion for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
The vital importance of working together
The best way we can help digitally excluded people is to collaborate and innovate – it is important to recognise that no single organisation can solve this issue alone!
Charities and social enterprises are at the forefront of making tools and training accessible – we think there is room for technology providers to consider their social impact and how they can give back to the people they support.
Charity leaders were some of the first to highlight that vulnerable people have been left behind in the transition to remote and online services as a result of the pandemic. Older people, those experiencing homelessness, disability, or poverty as well as disadvantaged young people often face compound barriers to accessing technology. Many charities have worked hard to provide their services online/virtually, but this has also exposed obstacles that people face in getting online.
We have to remember that while we can put the right technology tools in people’s hands, it’s important to take the time to support them to get online and develop the skills they need to thrive.
We are passionate about helping the third sector do good with mobile technology – and how technology can help build stronger and safer communities. Check out our #MobileForGood blog series for more stories about organisations delivering a big impact in communities.
At GoodCall, we can support your charity to deliver impact through mobile technology. We provide bespoke advice to help you make the most of your mobiles. Get in touch with us now via our contact form or call Elaine on 07535 396 882.