Linconshire needs digital inclusion, writes professor

[caption id="attachment_619" align="alignright" width="250"]"Digital Inclusion" Digital exclusion is another form of social exclusion[/caption]

Seventeen per cent of people in Lincolnshire have never used the internet, and this will be a problem given that the government wants to eventually move all its services online, writes Jim Rogers, senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln’s School of Health and Social Care.

Whilst the government is working on its ‘digital by default’ agenda, “not everyone can take advantage of these new digital ways of working. Many of those on the wrong side of the digital divide live in Lincolnshire, where poor rural connections, an older population, disability and the high costs of getting online are all indicators of digital exclusion,” writes Rogers.

He has written a book titled ‘Social Work in a Digital Society’ where he talks about how digital exclusion is another form of social exclusion but can be harder to deal down as it is “invisible” and is “further isolating those people already marginalised by location, economics and health” in places like Lincolnshire where on the one hand NHS Lincolnshire has the highest number of followers of any primary care trust in the country on Twitter and on the other hand people not online is higher than average.

He argues that 25,000 pensioners in the county live alone, with no means of transport available to them, and can greatly benefit from technology, while assistive technologies like alternative input and output devices and software programs can help those with physical or sensory impairment.

He adds that “too many initiatives designed to improve access to the internet assume all users can operate a mouse to move around websites and can read content on the screen” and believes that broadband should be made available to everyone in the county, especially those who are already marginalised in society, and as soon as possible.





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