What is Get Online Week?
Get Online Week is an annual campaign across the UK that is run by the leading digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation. For one week in October (16th – 23rd), The Good Things Foundation’s network of community partners host hundreds of free digital skills events across the UK to help people to get online safely, confidently, and affordably.
Why is it important?
Get Online Week is increasingly important as a staggering 10.2 million people across the UK lack the basic digital skills needed to use the internet, with millions still living without access to a device or data to get connected. Unable to connect with loved ones, job and training opportunities and everyday services moving online, people are experiencing digital exclusion and are being left behind. This has caused a digital divide between those connected and those disconnected.
According to Ofcom data, two of the groups least likely to have home internet access – just behind those aged over 65+ (of whom 18% are without access) – are lower-income households (11% without access) and the most financially vulnerable (10% without access). Around 2 million households struggle to afford their internet bills.
The affordability of an internet connection, devices and the equipment used to connect, is one of the key issues, but not the only problem.
- Nearly 1 in 5 adults lack the most basic digital skills that are needed for everyday life.
- Over 1 in 20 households have no internet access, neither fixed line nor mobile.
- 2 million households struggle with the affordability of internet access.
What can we do to help?
Digital poverty isn’t something that can be fixed overnight. But with support it is something that we can all do to help bridge the gap of digital inequality. Here are a few ways you can help to fix the digital divide:
- Help to support digitally excluded neighbours – this could be by helping teach them new things on their smartphones, or even introducing them to things as simple as podcasts.
- Volunteer your spare time to become a digital champion – many places such as local libraries and community centres are always looking for digital volunteers.
- Donate your old and unused digital devices – The National Device Bank takes any donations of unneeded and unused devices which are then cleared and wiped of any data and redistributed to help digitally excluded people have access to the digital world.