Digital inclusion

From a piece by Helen Milner of UfI in egov monitor:

The flipside of our increasing reliance on ICT – in public, economic and social life – is that the digitally excluded, by default, also become excluded from public services, modern working life and society itself.  Digital inclusion is at the heart of the debate not just around skills and the knowledge economy, but around social justice and personal well-being.  The new research is a continuation of UK online centres work in this area, and stems from a previous report which examined the links between digital and social exclusion.  It found 75% of those counted as being socially excluded were also digitally excluded*.  Those already at a social, educational or financial disadvantage are therefore three times more likely to be off-line, and missing out on the potential benefits, conveniences, opportunities and savings computers and the internet can provide.

7 thoughts on “Digital inclusion”

  1. I’m just in the process of putting together a presentation about the digital divide. Interestingly enough, based on research papers I’ve read, its not an older people thing. Around 11% of 16 to 24 year olds are considered to be digitally excluded. I’ll be presenting next month – will keep you advised.

  2. Steve, Dave – are you going to the Digital Exclsuion conference April 29? I may be doing some socialreporting

    Aside from unconnected digital exclusion there’s a lot of issues around media literacy – for example, how far community and voluntary organisations who serve the excluded are themselves unable to engage at more than basic level online. Being connected doesn’t mean you are included …

  3. Just to pick up on David’s comment….particularly

    “Being connected doesn’t mean you are included …”

    There is often an assumption made that being connected, or owning the hardware and having basic skills means that service users are somehow by default ‘engaged’ or ‘participating’. Another perspective is that it is also assumed that service providers have both personal empowerment or feel they have ‘permission to innovate’ along with the necessary digital media skills to do so effectively. These assumptions are often wrong. The digital divide debate should continue as the subtleties get drawn out further around how people want to engage.

    Something else I’ve been thinking about of late- connected to that point is:

    I’d suggest that the “75% of those counted as being socially excluded were also digitally excluded” may begin to work significantly in both ways –

    1)That being socially exlcuded means you’re more likely to experience digital exclusion, the trend is that more of the services you’ll need continue to go online, the divide deepens, social exclusion worsens.

    2) Those who would not be termed socially excluded at present but are in the digitally excluded group will eventually become more fully ‘socially exclcuded’ in a service user context by virtue of the mainstreaming of the web as an access channel to services.

    Just an idea! Yay for unconferences! I managed to be on holiday for both si+ukgov barcamps to date so we need another one… 🙂

  4. Hi Alice, thanks for stopping by!

    You make some really interesting points – it’s not necessarily the tech that is dividing people. ‘Digital media skills’ interests me – I guess this is stuff like finding and filtering of information. I was at a session at the Jisc 08 conference yesterday talking about the ‘Google generation’ (basically digital natives/bebo boomers/whatever you want to call them) whre research was showing that while young people are hip to MySpace and YouTube, they aren’t necessarily fully equipped with the skills to be able to fully engage online with others.

    I think much of this comes down to how people access services online. Maybe mobile technology offers a way of getting people included.

    Def. agree with you on the Yay! for unconferences. An event on exclusion that excludes people who can’t afford to attend. Hmmm.

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