New Report Reaffirms Digital Access Challenges Persist

February 25, 2019

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Today, the Carnegie UK Trust has published a new report: Switched On with an accompanying Infographic, bringing together research and evidence about key issues related to digital inclusion with a particular focus on children and young people, emphasising that adequate digital access is still far from universal.

The report builds on the body of work the Trust has undertaken around understanding digital exclusion and how a lack of digital access can further entrench existing disadvantage, particularly with vulnerable young people, leading to poorer health, wellbeing, educational and employment outcomes.

Switched On unpacks the elements required for ‘adequate digital access’, with a call to shift the debate to include a wider range of issues impacting on digital inclusion for children and young people, encompassing access to technology, an affordable reliable connection, but also the ability to utilise the online world effectively and safely. Adequate access goes far beyond simply owning a digital device. The report also highlights that it is often the most vulnerable groups of children and young people that are digitally excluded, and explores the varied policies and initiatives that already exist to tackle the issue.

Switched On has been produced as a background paper for the launch of a new cross-sectoral initiative – Digital Access for All (DAFA). DAFA is led by Nominet and the Learning Foundation together with the Trust and a range of leading tech, voluntary and government organisations to co-produce digital access solutions for young people and their families.

Douglas White, Head of Advocacy, Carnegie UK Trust says:  “We are delighted to be one of the partners working with the Learning Foundation and Nominet on the new Digital Access for All initiative. This is a timely intervention to remind policy makers, industry and the public that adequate access to the digital world is far from guaranteed for all young people in the UK. We hope our new report “Switched On” will be a valuable contribution to the debate, demonstrating both the complexity and nuance of the digital access debate, but also the need for practical action.”

Eleanor Bradley, COO, Nominet says: “As a leading digital nation, the UK needs to ensure that all of its citizens are able to engage, participate and benefit from everything that being online can offer. With Digital Access for All our goal is to test and shape a number of pilot initiatives to provide tangible solutions that ensure that all young people have the opportunity to reach their potential in a society that is now digital by default.”

Paul Finnis, CEO, Learning Foundation, says: “Digital Access For All is a determined effort to unlock solutions to the challenge of digital exclusion so that every young person, and their family, can have adequate access in the home so they can build the skills, confidence and enjoy opportunities for their future in a digital society.”

The full report can be read here and more information about Digital Access for All can be found here.

About Digital Access for All (DAFA)

The DAFA initiative was developed by the Learning Foundation, a consultancy with a social purpose, and Nominet, profit with a purpose the company operating at the heart of the UK internet infrastructure responsible for the .UK domain space, as lead founding partners, with support from Lord Knight and Baroness Harding. Founding partners include the Carnegie UK Trust, Intel, Lloyds Bank, Microsoft, Argos, BT, Computer Recyclers, Good Things Foundation and Greater London Authority.

Over the next six months DAFA will be working with leading service design partners to shape a series of pilots that will test different approaches to delivering the initiative effectively across the UK.