Why does digital literacy matter?
The emergence and development of digital technology over the last 20 years has had a profound effect on people and the way they live. As more aspects of society become dependent on digital resources, there is pressure on individuals to be able to use and interact with them. This increases the need for digital skills.
Bridging the Gap – Ireland’s Digital Divide research report delves into this issue more deeply. We found that 42 percent of Irish people describe themselves as being’ below average’ for digital skills. This highlights a gap in digital literacy that exists within the country. We found that age, social class, region and level of education is closely correlated with levels of digital skills. In our video we hear from people on just how important digital literacy is in today’s world.
What are the barriers to digital inclusion?
People with ‘below average’ digital competency face two obstacles; the motivation to improve their digital literacy and the access to services that will improve their digital literacy.
Facilitating digital inclusion
Providing more learning opportunities and tackling what people think they can and can’t do is essential if Ireland is to bridge the divide and create a more equal society. The experience of other countries and inputs from key stakeholders’ point to an approach revolving around 3 C’s.
If stakeholders can work to narrow the divide, Ireland could lead the way by making digital an equaliser rather than an inhibitor, empowering the digitally disadvantaged with skills that will make them more active participants in society and a tech-driven economy. Societal problems like loneliness could be tackled by digital skills, not exacerbated by their absence. If we don’t improve, social exclusion and class divides will harden as more activity moves online.