New research links digital inclusion and social impact

Some research from Ipsos Mori tells us what we already knew, that using the internet can make disadvantaged people’s lives better. This from the report from 24dash:

Based on 20 UK online centre-led projects involving hundreds of local partners, the research tracked the impact of informal learning about technology on the lives of different groups, including those with mental health issues, families in poverty, isolated older people and teenage parents.

More than 12,000 people took part in the social impact demonstrator projects between January 2007 and March 2008. By the end of the project, participants were more likely to feel confident, and 40% had progressed into further training, employment, information, advice and guidance.

Working with the computers helped to improve people’s maths and English, and they were more likely to spend time with friends and family, and more likely to connect with and help out in their communities.

Having some research to point to is great though, and adds to the momentum gathering around the notion of ‘digital mentors’ being bandied around by Communities and Local Government, and being tied into other roles, such as the social reporters.

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.