What's digital inclusion?
As some you may know, it’s estimated that approximately 3.7 million Australians are not connected to the internet and even more don’t have the skills or confidence they need to get online effectively. These people include:
- people with a lower socio economic background
- people who are culturally and linguistically diverse
- people who a live in rural, regional and remote areas
- older Australians.
As our world becomes increasingly digital, these Australians are left further and further behind.
Digital inclusion means making sure no-one is left behind.
Digital inclusion means making sure everyone has the tools and knowledge they need to make the most out of technology in a way that’s relevant and beneficial to them. As more government and business services move to a digital first model, the imperative for all Australians to be online effectively increases.
What are the barriers to a digitally inclusive Australia?
Some of the barriers that face Australia in becoming a truly digitally inclusive society include:
- Device costs - the costs for each individual to buy a device and maintain it (for example, replace broken screen, or upgrade software).
- Internet connection costs - the cost of connecting your home to the internet and maintaining that connection.
- Geographical - many parts of Australia have slow or unreliable internet connections. Some parts of Australia are not connected at all.
- Physical - over 20% of Australians live with a disability. Sometimes this requires extra equipment to adapt standard hardware and software.
- The concept and value of the internet - Australians around the country are unsure of how internet and technology can be relevant to them.
- The skills to use technology and the internet effectively - many Australians who are aware of the benefits are unsure or scared about getting started or improving their skillset and confidence.
There are many national programs, policies and people dedicated to the affordability and accessibility of the Internet and technology. There are not as many programs dedicated to making sure people know about the internet and technology and how it can help them. Because the people who are offline don’t know that they’re supposed to know about the internet and technology, they can’t ask for help. That’s where Go Digi comes in!
What is Go Digi and how did it get started?
Go Digi is a program aimed to get 300,000 Australians to realise their online potential. It is run in partnership by Infoxchange and Australia Post. It was launched in late February this year at the Library.
The program works with many different people and organisations around Australia to put learners at the centre of what we do. By connecting the dots of other programs with similar objectives, we can make sure more people are connected to an opportunity to learn. For a learner, this might be looking up a face-to-face learning event on the Go Digi platform, it could be learning online with easy to read Go Digi learning guides or other handy extras. It might be that they’ve asked someone they know to become a Go Digi mentor so that they get some help to improve their digital skills.
Next year in 2016, Go Digi will be leading the way for the National Year of Digital Inclusion (NYDI), with a series of events and festivals.
Why is 2016 important for digital inclusion?
There’s never been a better time to celebrate the benefits and discuss the importance of digital inclusion.
For many connected Australians, life without the internet would be a very different world. In 2016, the NYDI is an opportunity to come together to raise awareness of this difference and the practical things that organisations and individuals can do to help.
2016 is also an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of being online and the difference it does make to people’s lives all around the country.
How can I find out more about digital inclusion?
We're glad you asked!
There are a series of workshops and lectures coming up around the country. Please click on the links below for more details:
- Melbourne Digital Inclusion Manifesto Workshop 28th of October, 1pm at the Docklands Library, please register via the link
- Canberra Digital Inclusion Manifesto Workshop 30th of October, 10am at the National Library of Australia, please register via the link
- Canberra Digital Culture Talk with UK digital inclusion expert Helen Milner 30th of October at 1pm to 2pm, at the National Library of Australia, please register via the link
- Brisbane Digital Inclusion Lecture - 2nd November, 6pm to 7pm at the State Library of Queensland. No need to register, just come along.
I want to be a part of the National Year of Digital Inclusion! What can I do?
We want to work with as many people as possible to make 2016 the National Year of Digital Inclusion a success!
Right now you can:
- help someone you know by becoming a Go Digi Mentor
- see what NYDI events are near you and sign up for updates
- email us if you’ve got another great idea to discuss at [email protected]
We’d love to hear from you.