The world is rapidly becoming overrun by technology. It is near impossible to live day to day life without the use of some form of technology whether this be to look up bus and train times, look at menus in restaurants or paying for items. The list is extensive!
What is the Digital Divide?
The term ‘digital divide’ has been around for the last few decades and refers to the gap between those that have access to technology and those that don’t. This is mainly, but not limited to, the use of computers, internet access and smart technology such as phones and televisions. However, it is not as simple as having it or not it also relates to those that lack the skills and abilities to use technology or in fact just some people not having any interest in learning.
Who is affected?
There has been extensive research into who the digital divide affects the most. Results showed that the main groups are the elderly, low income families and those with disabilities.
This has been an ongoing problem for quite some time, it became more apparent of just how much of a divide there was during lockdown. A real awakening for a variety of people which highlighted just how important digital skills were, this was a crucial part of keeping in touch with others and importantly providing education. Although the lockdown has eased, many facilities have kept their online presence as their main point of contact. This has been problematic for those who have no internet access or lack the skills to use it.
How can we close the gap?
Independence Project and Independence Clubs strives to help people with disabilities to become independent. One way in which we have been doing this is by teaching our members how to use technology safely. It is an important skill for the people we support to master, allowing them to be able to stay in touch with family and friends or simply being enabled to access the internet to research or enjoy playing the games. . .
We would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. So please feel free to comment below.
Andrew is non-verbal. However, he is a fantastic reader and writer. So, we have been utilising his skills and helping him to text. We set up a WhatsApp group to encourage him to text more. Recently this has enabled him to stay in contact with his family whilst enjoying a supported holiday that we hosted.